Category Archives: Neighborhood

Celebrating Atlanta’s Original Forest

We’ve had a special guest staying with us the last few days:  Dr. Joan Maloof, author and Professor Emeritus at Salisbury University in Maryland, founded the Old-Growth Forest Network to preserve, protect and promote the country’s few remaining stands of old-growth forest.

“Teaching the Trees” – Joan Maloof

She’s been in Atlanta to induct 13 tracts of land in and near Atlanta into OGF Network (see the list below).  This is a remarkable number of additions and underscores what we already knew: Atlanta truly is a City in The Forest.

These forests have been identified and protected by many dedicated individuals who see their value and importance now and for future generations.  There are many heroes in this story,  but one who stands out is Kathryn Kolb, director of Eco-Addendum (Eco-A).

Eco-A is an organization whose stated mission is “is to raise awareness about Georgia’s rich natural environment, and through education, to reconnect people with the natural world”.  Sign up for one of Eco-A’s “Walk About Down Yonder” hikes;  they’re great and you’ll learn a lot about Atlanta and our forests.

Eco-Addendum organized and produced last night’s event, “Discovering Atlanta’s Original Forests”, on the Emory campus with over 200 people in attendance.  The program included a panel discussion about Atlanta’s trees moderated by Maria Saporta,  writer and frequent contributor to the AJC and the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and founder and editor of news website SaportaReport.com, and tree champion.

While Peachtree Park doesn’t qualify as an Old Growth Forest, it is a very valuable urban forest with many old, valuable trees.  We asked Joan to walk the Nature Trail with us yesterday and identify some of the trees.  She spent over 2 hours with us and helped us realize just how special this land is.  She also identified over a dozen species of trees which will be marked with information signs.

Loblolly Pine

Then we asked her to identify the pine tree in our back yard.  It’s a Loblolly, but the real news is that she estimates it to be over 130 years old!  We were stunned!  And we learned that Loblollies can live to be 200 – 300 years old.  We’ve lived beside this tree in our back yard for over 30 years and all the while had no idea it was that old.  There are many trees like this in Peachtree Park: old-growth trees that sustain wildlife and make this neighborhood a wonderful place to live.

Old-Growth Forest Inductions – April 25, 2017

  • Briarlake Forest and Hidden Acres Nature Preserve – DeKalb County
  • Cascade Springs Nature Preserve – City of Atlanta
  • Cumberlander – City of Atlanta
  • D’Agnese tract – City of Atlanta
  • Daniel Johnson Nature Preserve / Herbert Taylor Park – City of Atlanta
  • Deepdene Park – DeKalb County
  • Fernbank Forest – DeKalb County
  • Herbert Greene Park – City of Atlanta
  • Lionel Hampton-Beecher Hills Nature Preserve – City of Atlanta
  • Lullwater Conservation Garden – City of Atlanta
  • Osborne Park, City of Brookhaven – DeKalb County
  • Outdoor Activity Center – City of Atlanta

and these two private forests:

  • McConaughey Nature Preserve and Historic Site – DeKalb County
  • Mosman Forest – City of Atlanta, Fulton Country

 

 

No Habitat, No Wildlife

As a rule, we like to keep our content focused on positive things.  However, since this blog is about urban wildlife, we’d have no conscience if we didn’t speak up on an urgent issue that is critical to our wildlife and to each of us here as residents.

More than Thirty-five large trees and countless smaller ones have just been removed by developers in Historic Peachtree Park over the last few weeks from just 2 lots (696 Darlington Rd and 3005 Dale Drive).  Some of these trees had an 80- to 100- year history of growth.  This is a big blow.  And more tree removal signs are up in other parts of the neighborhood.   At this rate there won’t be any Park left in Peachtree Park.

Over 20 concerned neighbors and the Peachtree Park board appealed to the City to save two large specimen oaks on the Darlington Road lot.  You can see these magnificent trees in the photo on the left above.  The appeal was denied and the result is shown below.  Bottom line: a developer can build anything anywhere on a lot, and if a saving a tree is inconvenient, the City’s ordinances permit removal.  In other words, trees come last.

Bluntly put, developers with no long term interest in this neighborhood, clear a lot, often overbuild the property, make a profit and leave.  The developer, a temporary interloper and profiteer, is gone and so are the trees.  This is by now an all too familiar pattern.

Wildlife is victim to this staggering habitat loss.  No trees: no bugs, no birds, no critters.  We are all victims of this loss as well.  We lose our tree canopy, shade, ecosystem services like controlling runoff and cleaning our air, and of course beauty.

3005 Dale

3005 Dale Drive was a wooded wildlife haven. It has now been mostly clearcut and lost more than 21 large trees.

One neighbor posted on the neighbor social media site:

“Is anyone concerned about more and more of the old majestic trees being taken down to make room for new houses/townhomes in our neighborhood?  One of the reasons we moved here was the green feel and the stunning trees in many yards.”

We love to talk about wildlife and the habitat that supports them.  Are we willing to take action to stop its wholesale removal?

What can you do?

  • There are developers and architects who care about trees and work hard to save them. If you’re renovating, seek them out and support them (some even live in our neighborhood).
  • If you’re buying a home, find out what was there before. If the property was clearcut, tell your realtor to keep looking. Let’s raise the bar and send a message we care about trees.
  • And you can support the Peachtree Park Board in their efforts to take a stand against this tree massacre. If you’d like to help, contact the PPCA Landscape Chair Michelle Lyle –  mmlyle@mindspring.com.

Think of it this way: If you have a young child and plant a tree in your yard now, your child will most likely not live long enough to see that tree live to be as old, large and beautiful as this one that was just removed on Darlington Rd.

36-inch Hardwood

We have more information about trees on these pages: Trees & Plants, Tree Size and Age and Special Trees, and we’ll have a follow-up post with more things we can do to protect trees.

The video below shows just some of the wildlife that, in one way or another, depend on trees.  If the trees leave, so do they.  Maybe the wildlife affected by the current habitat destruction will move into your yard where they’ll be safe.