The Trees of Tree Town
After a rough fifty years for its trees, the city is now developing its first-ever urban forestry plan. Work began last spring, and the plan is expected to go to city council late this year or early next. Nothing in the plan is likely to transform the landscape on the scale of the settling of the savanna, in part because the government controls only about 30 percent of the city's land area (the U-M and private owners control the rest). Still, it seems like a good moment to ask a cross-section of local experts what they'd like to see for the city's urban forests: Plant colonnades of the same species or cultivate a variety of different trees? Re-create something akin to the original oak savanna, or create a configuration more compatible with the changing environment and the needs of current residents?
Everyone we talked to shares a deep love of trees, combining their awe and wonder with homely affection for the mega-flora in our midst. They all argue strongly for their points of view, agreeing there should be more trees but disagreeing about what they should be.