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Big trees, like those on Rockland property in Victoria vital to cities

Large trees serve many roles, have climate benefits, reader writes
Neighbouring resident Michelle Dobie stands next to a giant scented cedar tree on the Pentrelew Place edge of the former Victoria Truth Centre property at 1201 Fort St., which is the subject of a development proposal. One reader writes that large trees are an integral part of the ecosystem. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

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Large, mature trees are vital to cities. They provide not only beauty, but air cleaning and cooling, water-filtering, and climate change mitigation – all virtually for free. Recent studies have found large trees sequester more carbon annually than the combined effect of many smaller trees.

Climate change is upon us. Each of the past three years successively broke global heat records. It is high time the city and region establish a fund to buy properties such as the former Victoria Truth Centre, and the Saanich property where two years ago nearly 5,000 trees were cut down to grow hay. Some could become parks, some could be re-sold with the caveat that the majority of trees be retained.

Yes, Victoria has many large, beautiful trees gracing its streets, its parks and its residential properties. But this is no time to take them for granted. Their presence is decreasing annually through development, disease and the increased stress of climate change. None of these things are going away.

We badly need city and regional policies that value the essential and increasingly important contribution of these trees to our health and to the livability of this region. We need policies that recognize the fact it takes decades to replace each one we lose.

Grace Wyatt