A Little Overkill

"Over the last few years that Harrison Hot Springs has slowly but consistently been cutting back or removing the trees in the village"

Before I start I would like to make it clear that I’m not blaming anyone for the actions below; rather I am criticizing the vision of Harrison Hot Springs that is held collectively by its residents.

As Harrison has “progressed” I have come to notice the elimination/cutback on trees and native species in the village. Just last week the village had decided yet again to prune the trees on the corner of Miami River Drive. It seems over the last few years that Harrison Hot Springs has slowly but consistently been cutting back or removing the trees in the village merely for an aesthetic look that caters to a gardener’s vision. The ecological function of these microhabitats are suffering due to the aesthetically purposed pruning and removing of these trees. This year alone we lost a large cottonwood and 3 dead conifers in Spring Park, multiple deciduous trees on the Miami River Trail, a large deciduous at the Elementary School, a healthy fir and Cottonwood in the RV lot and a nice birch growing out of a large stump along the road to the yacht club; and if I was to count back 10 years we’d have lost a lot more.

I just don’t seem to understand as to why this pruning and cutting has become necessary, the likelihood of a live tree or branch affecting an individual’s safety is very low, and if that’s the main concern there’s other ways to deal with it. Trees and shrub species are not a choice, they are a long-term necessity. They provide functional ecosystems through species interactions, micro- and macroclimate control through transpiration and shading, soil stabilization through root systems, succession due to natural forest life-cycle, flood mitigation through water uptake and key functions like carbon sequestration and triggering of human emotions through biophilia. Aesthetic pruning has the ability to stunt and reverse succession and opens up areas for invasive species to exploit; it also has massive impacts that aren’t really noticed until a couple years down the road.

It just seems that these decisions have become an opinion-based requirement instead of an educated decision and its having a poor effect on our community. Don’t get me wrong, I fully support the removal of long dead branches for safety purposes, but leave them where they lie, it’s needed for ecosystem survival and it’s a natural fertilizer. If you’re bored and you feel like something needs to be removed, get rid of the invasive’s, because at this rate, 70 years will go past and Harrison Hot Springs won’t be anything else but Knotweed, Blackberry and Ivy and we’ll all be starving for oxygen.

Niek de Browe

Harrison Hot Springs