I never paid much attention to trees, except to admire and appreciate their value to us. Way back in grade school, we learned the basic value of trees in cleaning the air, providing shade, retarding soil erosion and often providing nourishing food. Then, with age, and hopefully some wisdom, we realize the list of values expands to sound abatement, reducing wind effects, providing habitats for birds and insects, and increasing land value. And they look good too!
We can see what happens when trees are removed, from the extreme damage to Easter Island to the clear-cutting of forest here on Maui and numerous other places.
So if removing trees increases flooding and erosion, why aren't we fighting for tree preservation instead of against ii? It took over a year of strong effort by dedicated citizens to preserve a small group of decades-old large shade trees in North Kihei.
But the urban forest at Ulua Beach Park was devastated earlier this year, and in spite of claims that a number of trees would be preserved, we see none at this time, but only new, very young, smaller species replacements that will take decades to mature, and never provide the benefits of those removed.
Next, we hear that many of the towering palm trees on Ka'ahumanu Avenue in Kahului will be removed because they are too tall. And trees are being uprooted at a shoreline park near Lahaina. Come on! More trees, not fewer.