Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lament for Snags in the Lower Don

Dead tree chopped down in E.T. Seton Park

You may or may not have noticed that there has been a spate of tree cuttings in the Don Valley this spring. Most of the large trees that died this past winter have been chopped down by Parks and Forestry Department. There are two reasons for this. First the city doesn't want dead trees falling over and hurting anybody, a liability issue. Second, plenty of people call into the city and complain that the dead trees make the parks look 'messy'.

Which is really too bad because, dead trees, or snags create important habitat opportunities for many animals, birds, and insects. Animals such as bats, raccoons, woodpeckers, and owls create nests in hollows. Many insects feed on the dead wood. Woodpeckers especially feed on the insects in these trees.

If left in place many of these trees would have stood for another 20-30 years. I inspected this tree (see photo) and the heartwood is good and solid with no rot. This is just one area where the interface between humans and the natural world suffers. It's too bad that aesthetics takes priority over natural function.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this site. I go to it regularly and enjoy the comments and information.

As a result I and my children have tree planted, gone on hikes and paddled the Don. Our next generation of conservationists?

Keep up the good work.

Andrew Grieve

Donwatcher said...

Hello Andrew,

Thanks for the comment. One of the objectives of Bring Back the Don (of which I am a member) is education. I created Don Watcher partly for that reason so it is good to get some positive feedback.

Someday your children may reflect on these experiences and it may influence them to become conservationists. I had similar childhood experiences and it certainly influenced me!

Don Watcher