Yesterday’s Baltimore Sun ran an article about BGE’s battle between trees and power. The headline: “Tree cutting and removal are seen as key ways to reduce the problem.” That is how the battle lines are being drawn. Power vs. Trees.
The BOP was interviewed for the article and we were quoted as arguing against that dichotomy. I argued that it is wrong to pit trees against energy. We should not have to choose between power or trees anymore than we would want to choose between eating or drinking. We need both.
Besides arguing that one way of avoiding that choice is by putting wires underground wherever feasible, and trimming instead of downing trees wherever possible, I argue two other points:
1) BGE should not be exempt from the Forest Conservation Act (they currently are). The FCA requires people to plant new trees for the mature trees it takes down. BGE should also be responsible for replacing the trees it cuts down, both as a disincentive to unnecessarily cut and to reforest the areas it denudes. (I will write more about how they might structure such a program soon.)
2) Fruit trees make wonderful replacements. They rarely grow tall enough to interfere with BGE’s wires so they can even be placed under them, filling the gaps left by larger trees that were removed. BGE will even pay you up to $100 for every tree that you plant in place of a large tree they took down. See the details here.
Fruit trees do many things for a community. Feeding people is one; creating lush, green, resilient neighborhoods is another. As a piece of urban forestry, we can contribute much.