Trees of the Future

Trees of the Future

ambience: city street
Heavers: Of course we want all of the environmental, ecological benefits that they bring us in cities, but they’re something also that we can care for.

Some thoughts on the future of trees and the trees of the future. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Heavers: So, trees have evolved over long, long periods of time. Most of the flowering trees that we have on the streets have been around, in some version, for 150 million years.

Nathan Heavers is an Assistant Professor in Landscape Architecture at Virginia Tech.

Heavers: Well, I think the future of tree planting is strong and sound because trees have, essentially, evolved to deal with these ups and downs in the climate. This may be one of the most dramatic in a few hundred thousand years the swing that we’re beginning to experience now but the trees that we plant trees today have been through drastic, dramatic climate change, and they’re really a product of it. They have come out of it. And so, it’s really our job, I think, as urban planners and then citizens in cities, to identify the trees that have done well through various climate changes and plant those — even sometimes if they don’t fulfill all of our ideas about what a city tree should look like.
It’s really a matter of finding the trees that have been through those kinds of shifts — that is the work of designers of cities. It might be that there is a conifer out there that would be useful, that doesn’t fit the model but would, in fact, be a great street tree.
Planting trees is a long-term investment that is, in the end, the best thing for our communities. You have the prospect of that 70 or 80 feet of growth and all the years of shade that it will provide for the city.

I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Trees of the Future

The trees we plant trees today are a product of drastic, dramatic climate change.
Air Date:03/28/2018
Scientist:
Transcript:

Trees of the Future

ambience: city street
Heavers: Of course we want all of the environmental, ecological benefits that they bring us in cities, but they're something also that we can care for.

Some thoughts on the future of trees and the trees of the future. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Heavers: So, trees have evolved over long, long periods of time. Most of the flowering trees that we have on the streets have been around, in some version, for 150 million years.

Nathan Heavers is an Assistant Professor in Landscape Architecture at Virginia Tech.

Heavers: Well, I think the future of tree planting is strong and sound because trees have, essentially, evolved to deal with these ups and downs in the climate. This may be one of the most dramatic in a few hundred thousand years the swing that we're beginning to experience now but the trees that we plant trees today have been through drastic, dramatic climate change, and they're really a product of it. They have come out of it. And so, it's really our job, I think, as urban planners and then citizens in cities, to identify the trees that have done well through various climate changes and plant those -- even sometimes if they don't fulfill all of our ideas about what a city tree should look like.
It's really a matter of finding the trees that have been through those kinds of shifts -- that is the work of designers of cities. It might be that there is a conifer out there that would be useful, that doesn't fit the model but would, in fact, be a great street tree.
Planting trees is a long-term investment that is, in the end, the best thing for our communities. You have the prospect of that 70 or 80 feet of growth and all the years of shade that it will provide for the city.

I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.