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Old 12-02-2014, 08:26 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,010 posts, read 102,606,536 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I wonder if Denver is an unusual example where the city is more treed than its surroundings, as most of the native vegetation is grassland.
Well, probably; yes, absolutely. There are not too many native trees around here. Former Mayor Speer gave away trees to the residents. Robert Speer, Denver's "City Beautiful" Mayor | Colorado Virtual Library
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Old 12-02-2014, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Office Politics View Post
It appears that Cities in Northern Europe have more trees than pretty much anywhere else. (But most of the urban forest is in parks, vs. in American cities it is in yards, buffers between homes and buildings and open space due to development regulations.)

I wonder if the historical connection of America to England and Northern Europe started the tradition of homes with yards and trees in the USA?
Absolutely not.

England was, in the early modern era, almost totally treeless. Virtually all trees (aside from fruit trees, those on royal hunting preserves, and the like) had long since been cut down for timber and/or cleared out for cropland. This is part of why traditionally houses in Britain were brick or stone - wood was far too expensive to use for something like cladding - there was barely enough for the beams needed for structural support. This is also why Britain turned to coal mining early - there simply wasn't enough wood for kitchen fires.

In Ireland, Wales, and especially Scotland a bit more forest survived. But even here, and even today, there isn't much forested land.



Northern Europe, especially Scandinavia, is different. Much of the land was marginal for agriculture, hence there was no reason to permanently clear the land, although periodic clearing for timber was common. Some isolated areas remain old-growth forests, which have been essentially untouched by the development of agriculture and civilization.

The bottom line is the early British settlers were in fact unsettled by the amount of tree cover in North America, which was nothing like England. They often remarked upon the dense and foreboding nature of the forest. And they actually initially imported many of the same clearance practices as in England. New England is today 80% forested, but back in 1850, it was only 30%-40%. Large areas which now seem to be wilds were actually someone's farm - you can find the old foundations of the barns and houses if you look closely enough.
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Old 12-02-2014, 08:57 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,010 posts, read 102,606,536 times
Reputation: 33064
^^Yeah, Pennsylvania was clear-cut at one time for timber. It's now second-growth and one of the more heavily forested states.
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Old 12-02-2014, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Germany
580 posts, read 409,030 times
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Same map but animated from 1900 to 2010 (confirms your opinion)




http://cdn1.spiegel.de/images/image-...9free-kvhq.gif
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Fort Collins, USA
1,477 posts, read 2,370,744 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I wonder if Denver is an unusual example where the city is more treed than its surroundings, as most of the native vegetation is grassland.
Most of the population of the western US (outside of the Pacific NW) live in cities or towns where this is the case. Shrubs or grasses are the predominant native plants in this part of the country. The naturally forested areas are (by and large) sparsely populated.

Last edited by xeric; 12-02-2014 at 11:06 AM..
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:43 AM
 
15,065 posts, read 19,704,056 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Office Politics View Post
I do a lot of traveling and one thing that divides American Cities with the rest of the world is the large number of large trees in urban areas. Fly into MOST American Cities and you will see a sea of large trees. Most American cities have houses with yards with grass, trees and flowers and lots of land in-between left as woods or fields.

Fly into cities in Asia, Europe and Latin America and the development is very dense with little room for trees- outside of parks. Sure there are some trees but they are planted, generally small, and cover a small area.

Why is this the case?
Not true for Caracas, Venezuela
There's trees everywhere

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Old 12-02-2014, 11:51 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,990 posts, read 41,979,923 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Absolutely not.

England was, in the early modern era, almost totally treeless. Virtually all trees (aside from fruit trees, those on royal hunting preserves, and the like) had long since been cut down for timber and/or cleared out for cropland. This is part of why traditionally houses in Britain were brick or stone - wood was far too expensive to use for something like cladding - there was barely enough for the beams needed for structural support. This is also why Britain turned to coal mining early - there simply wasn't enough wood for kitchen fires.

In Ireland, Wales, and especially Scotland a bit more forest survived. But even here, and even today, there isn't much forested land.
I think Office Politics is correct. You're confusing two things. Having trees and greenery in residential areas and open space within cities has little to do whether rural areas are forested. London has quite a bit of green space mixed in within the cities and many residential areas do have some yardspace mixed in.

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=londo...ngdom&t=k&z=11

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=londo...03.72,,0,-9.13

Out of London, it's mostly all farmland and not much forest. Germany and Italy are the same density as the United Kingdom but they kept their forest much better, though Italy it's partially topography related. I've visited England frequently. I didn't pick up on the lack of street trees. I did pick up on the lack of forest in the rural areas. I actually found it a bit unsettling, felt like the landscape was a bit ruined.
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:55 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,990 posts, read 41,979,923 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhwdavid View Post
Same map but animated from 1900 to 2010 (confirms your opinion)

http://cdn1.spiegel.de/images/image-...9free-kvhq.gif
Interesting. You can see forested land increase, maybe a bit similar though not as intense as the second-growth forest recovery in the Northeast US. Red settled areas were tiny specks in 1900, they're much larger now especially in England, the Low Countries and Germany. Looks like cities became much more sprawling, as the area increase must be much larger than the urban population growth.
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Old 12-02-2014, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,427 posts, read 11,929,235 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I think Office Politics is correct. You're confusing two things. Having trees and greenery in residential areas and open space within cities has little to do whether rural areas are forested. London has quite a bit of green space mixed in within the cities and many residential areas do have some yardspace mixed in.
The existence of urban street trees in London and the like today is, from everything I've read, a very recent innovation though, dating to the mid-19th century. Thus it would have little to no bearing on America's founding relationship with urban trees. Although admittedly, as the nations evolved in the 19th and early 20th century they both had a great influence upon each other, so that if an innovation began in Britain, many "forward-thinking" Americans would also embrace it.
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Old 12-02-2014, 01:30 PM
 
Location: USA
7,778 posts, read 10,143,429 times
Reputation: 11715
I'm impressed, Office Politics, that you qualified your statement about American cities with the word most and didn't say each and every American city does this or that.... It's a limit rarely used by many posters. I tried to rep you, but the site tells me I can't. I don't know why and it didn't say anything about spreading the reps around, so there's a mystery.
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