by Dick Williams, Bernadette Roche
The Baltimore Sun
Trees are a natural bulwark against the dangers of global warming, especially when they are grouped in continuous stands called forests. They knock down airborne particulate matter and sequester carbon and nitrogen dioxide — menacing greenhouse gases from tailpipes, smokestacks and buildings. They also are nature’s defense against the “heat island effect” stemming from way too much hardscape (roads, parking lots, roofs) in our cities and suburbs that over-heat our atmosphere, particularly during sunny summer days.
Forests in urban areas are particularly effective as nature’s green infrastructure answer to stormwater management and the need for clean water for marine life. As with rural forestland, urban forests — such as Druid Hill Park in Baltimore — continue to serve as wildlife habitat, assuring a place for nature’s course in addition to humankind’s.