Black, brown neighborhoods want to see real commitment to preservation
We were thrilled to see Mayor Michelle Wu release the city’s Urban Forest Plan (“Wu announces forestry division to preserve, expand Boston trees,” Metro, Sept. 22). In centering equity, green jobs, and climate resilience, the mayor is charting a path forward to grow the city’s forest for generations to come. Furthermore, by adding staff to a new forestry division, her administration has demonstrated a commitment to put the plan into action.
However, this staff increase needs to be supported with a concerted commitment to preserving mature trees, especially in environmental justice neighborhoods. This summer, despite protests from residents of Roxbury (a priority neighborhood in the Urban Forest Plan), the city removed 29 mature trees in Malcolm X Park. Without these trees, Roxbury’s air will be hotter and dirtier, leading to exacerbated health issues in an already burdened, primarily Black neighborhood. No number of small replanted trees can replace what was lost.
We see two immediate places where Wu can lead in demonstrating commitment both to the growth of Boston’s urban forest and to rebuilding trust with city residents, especially in Black and brown communities. The first is a 14-acre parcel in Crane Ledge Woods in Hyde Park slated for redevelopment; the second is a 4-acre wooded area on Morton Street in Dorchester slated for a turf field. Preserving trees on these properties would go a long way.
Alternatives for Community and Environment
Speak for the Trees
A gift of redwoods brings memories of the one lost to Prouty Garden demolition
There was a 65-foot dawn redwood tree in the Prouty Garden at Boston Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately it was removed almost six years ago to make space available for a new building. It had been greatly revered by patients, their families, and the staff.
It is good to know that Harvard University has made a gift of 10 of these trees to the City of Boston to be planted in its neighborhoods and that there will be a new division of urban forestry to help ensure that these trees will be well maintained.