Tree vandalism continues – what can we do?

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It’s been such a shame to see some more much loved trees in Wollongong being destroyed by ‘tree vandals’ – recently it was reported on when it had been occuring by those who wanted that precious ‘multimillion dollar’ view, but didn’t want to go through the official channels to obtain it (or didn’t like being told they couldn’t destroy the trees blocking their views for their living pleasure).

We’ve also heard about how some storms recently took down one of the most famous trees in ‘The Gong’ outside our beloved city’s Art Gallery – as a result it had to be moved unfortunately, however it couldn’t be helped due to the natural disaster yet it highlighted how much the community adores and feels connected to its trees, something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Which is why, understandably, the recent public outcry over the damage done to the historic beauties at Belmore Basin that have provided shade to 1000s of families for as many years has forced many to push the Govt and Councils to do more to both protect our trees and punish those who intentionally damage them, for whatever reasons.

It is public vandalism after all and should be treated as such.

People in cities all across the world, including those such as Sydney, become quite distressed when such vandalism takes place – and rightly so.

(And let’s not get started on the controversial response to ‘that’ art installation of palm trees along the Mall.)

Sadly many believe that the large signs placed on the sites of these ‘tree attacks’ become an eyesore themselves, and distraction from the natural beauty that they serve to protect whilst blocking the natural beauty that continues to surround them. There seems to be more of these popping up along the place.

If these are not doing enough to prevent people – whoever they are and for whatever reasons – ripping up roots or tearing trees down, then what else can be done?

Most people think of arborists as ‘tree loppers’, however we pride ourselves on being anything but – we’re in the business of caring for, and in turn preserving, trees and only removing them if absolutely necessary. We understand the joy they bring to people’s lives whilst being absolutely essential to the health of our environment, our families and our communities.

Our customers consistently let us know how much they appreciate the time we take to explain why we are doing something, or if we are suggesting an alternative action to removal, and the care we take with their beloved trees – many that hold deep rooted stories.

If a removal is required, we donate to chosen charities that replant on our behalf.

We also work with local Indigenous leaders to educate us on how we can learn from the local tree life and land, plus wildlife protection representatives when we come across any in a job that require extra special attention.

Councils engage us to work with them as experts in the complex area of arboriculture and we believe they are doing their best to work towards protecting trees and the local natural environment and that they are listening and responding to their local community when they express how much trees mean to them.

However they can also be bound by much higher regulatory authorities, that can be complex themselves – however that’s not to say that we shouldn’t work with them to attempt to have a strong stance on the price that vandals should pay when damage is done to a tree, along with additional protective measures if and where possible.

The punishment surely should be similar to when a piece of public property is attacked or damaged – or even another living being such as animal.

Meanwhile we’ll keep educating children and communities about the importance of trees (as we do as part of our Educational outreach programs in schools and at local events – see here for more) – and we hope you can too.

After all, getting to the root of problems can help prevent rather than cure them – and be alot less costly on all levels.