Whilst Norm Stapley is busy chopping down mature trees at 181 Beechwood Crescent the rest of us are thinking how best we can preserve and protect our forests and woodlands.

This is how the property looked before Norm got to work with his chainsaw.

Chris Howie - who is taking a deputation to Newmarket's Committee of the Whole tomorrow - has launched a petition on change.org to save the trees, or what's left of them, from the predations of Mr Stapley. There is an arresting photograph of the felled trees.

Quite by coincidence, this coming Thursday (2 March 2017) York Regional Council will be considering a thought-provoking report on the state of the Region's forests - which includes woodlands, trees and shrubs in all urban and rural areas. It will be sent to Newmarket Council and to the other eight municipalities in due course.  

The report reminds us of the crucial contribution trees make to the wellbeing of the planet and to our immediate surroundings:

"The size and health of a tree greatly affects the benefits it provides. Large trees deliver greater household energy savings, air and water quality improvements, runoff reduction, visual impact, property value enhancements and carbon sequestration capacity.

In fact, one large healthy tree can store approximately 65 times more carbon and remove 15 times more air pollution annually than one small tree. Unlike most built infrastructure,trees are a great investment because as they grow their value and benefits increase."

It comes as no surprise, then, that the Region wants to increase the canopy cover from 31% at present to 35% by 2031 and 40% by 2051. Good for it.

Newmarket - a growing urban centre though relatively compact -  has the second smallest percentage tree cover in York Region, after Markham so we've got to be a very good steward of what we have.

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