In 1960, planners expected more than 25 million mostly suburban houses to be built over 15 years. Builders rushing to finish developments usually leveled all vegetation. A Post author offered a case for keeping the forest.
-From the January 28, 1961, issue of the Post.
A 35-foot oak or maple having a total leaf surface of about 4,000 square feet will evaporate more than 35 gallons of water during a summer day. By evaporation and deflection of the sun’s rays, a tree will reduce the heating effect of the sun on the area below it by as much as a half. But even more informative than figures is the experience of driving into a wooded park after dark in the summer. City streets, cooked to as high as 135 degrees by the sun, radiate heat all night long. In a tree-shaded area, the temperature drops with the sun.
When trees are saved, our dwellings seem to be part of their surroundings rather than invaders, we ourselves seem to gain a sense of belonging, of having roots. We even gain some of the serenity which is apt o be the scarcest commodity of all. Everything depends upon having a builder who cares, one who’d find it hard to live with himself if he were known for having loused up the countryside.
This article is featured in the January/February 2021 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.
Featured image: Francesca Pianzola / Shutterstock
Become a Saturday Evening Post member and enjoy unlimited access. Subscribe now
This article is still timely and applies today; even more so. Trees are one of THE most important living things on the planet, with equal importance to animals and people. Unless a particular tree is unfortunately a victim of sickness or disease (which occasionally happens) and cannot be restored to health, than it should never be cut down.
I can happily say I’ve seen examples of where roads and buildings have been built to accommodate beautiful old trees and the results have been wonderful and beautiful.