We need swift action in Newton to protect our trees
Newton is losing its tree canopy at an alarming rate: over the last 50 years, Newton lost 50% of its street tree canopy, and over 70% of our remaining street trees are in “fair” or “poor” condition. (Open Space and Recreation Plan, 2020-2027, Ch 4., pp. 60-62)
There has also been a 20% loss of forested land in the last 25 years.
55.5% of our tree canopy is on residential properties. Newton does not track these trees, but Newton residents have witnessed continuous, significant tree loss in recent years due to extensive real estate development
Trees on residential properties are part of our shared green infrastructure and contribute shade, stormwater management, noise and air pollution reduction, and all of the other benefits of trees to both the residents and their neighbors.
Right now, there are virtually no limits on removing trees on private property, nor are there requirements to protect abutters’ trees when a neighboring yard is undergoing development.