Monday, February 26

40% Loss in St. Johns County Tree Canopy in Last 20 Years?

According to Global Forest Watch, St. Johns County clear cutting has resulted in a 40% reduction in the tree canopy from 2001 to 2022. I'm sure the hippy-dippy treehuggers with Global Forest Watch may overestimate as much as possible, but I'd wager the loss of forested areas in St. Johns County is significant. I guess the question is whether or not it matters.

In my home state of Wisconsin, about 85% of the state was forested when Europeans showed up, but by 1915, only 1% of the state had forests. Farms, cities, selling wood, etc. Today, the state is back up to nearly 50% forests. It turns out that not all forested land was useful a farmland, and you can't harvest trees for wood if there are no trees left. Even St. Johns County will likely never decide to clear cut 99% of the forest. The main difference is that today's clear cutting is to build wide roads and mini malls next to sprawling neighborhoods with pretend beaches and other amenities, not farms or factories.

My family farmed Wisconsin land for 150 years, providing food and milk from about 100 acres. The land was mostly deforested, even if there were a couple of "woods" on the property. But if my cousin decides to plant trees instead of crops, the forest would come back. I'm sure most of St. Johns forested land had already been deemed deficient for farming, so it's not like the new neighborhoods are taking farms away from feeding us. So it's more about what we want for our landscape as opposed to competing uses. The main consideration is that when a farm fails or sells, the trees can grow back, but neighborhoods don't quite work that way.

I'm not totally sure where I stand on this issue. Land is there for us if we need it, and restrictions like those in Oregon have proven to limit affordable housing while maintaining natural beauty. The problem around here is that our standards are non-existent, meaning developers build or use a narrow road as a single entrance to a huge neighborhood that adds congestion requiring wider roads that now also need gas stations and Walmarts because it takes 15 minutes just to get to the exit of the vast neighborhood, so roads are widened, traffic lights are added to intersections, and then more traffic signals are needed for the next neighborhood or commercial development or (heaven forbid) apartment complex, and suddenly there's an entirely new city made up of single-entrance neighborhoods and strip malls. But there's a Kilwins or Keke's, so everyone is happy. At least until the next mega-neighborhood gets built a mile down the road.

I guess what I'm saying is maybe a little bit of planning might help a lot in the long run. People live here in the long run, while developers only care about the short term.

Contact Brian


Email *

Message *

Pennies From Heaven AKA Welfare for Writers

The reason why we have ads on this site is because that's one way writers make money online. Your presence on this site right now might make a penny for our family. Clicking on an ad might get us closer to $.50. Buying something online as a result of clicking on a link can make us a few dollars. We will not get rich from this money, but every penny helps out. Every like or share or re-post or follow. Please, make a donation to our family by clicking.

JAX Weather


Jacksonville jax money Florida crime housing activities vehicles economic development school home news transportation planning police Duval website design kids politics traffic research TV neighbor reviews sports taxes parks statistics East Arlington writing history environment St. Johns roads travel water employment fun men previous owner rankings Arlington weather women beach review business church jaguars pollution dating fashion football guns hurricane library race tourism fatalities health care zoning baseball music JEA Mayport restaurant summer animals games military unf Lyft St. Augustine education flooding pets spanish AC Halloween farms film french hockey noise ocean po radio Duval County Fletcher high school armada cats christmas controversy debate decision fall fort caroline style superhero 2021 AAA Roadside Assistance Advice Blowhard Cambridge AICE County Sheriffs Duval County Public Schools Easter FDOT FL Google Gyros Haretna Hilton Honors James jaeger Kernan Boulevard Lutheran Milano's Ocala Pressers SEO St. Johns County Starbucks T-shirts Tim Tebow VW acting ad of the week addiction again all balls arts asked avoid behavior belief best bi-polar boo celebration chances chump colleges column common comparison consequences councilmembers credit card cuisine difficult to use don't work doors driving games entertainment experience expression faith finding food frustration future gambling gaming gas station grass hack handles high school exchange homes housing market humor illegal traffic stops impact importance improve indians informed infrastructure insightful issue. killing language last chance light boat parade lights local dating scene lottery love made mascot meaning mental health merchandise mistakes mood swings no U-turn sign no brains notebooks opening opinion origins ownership party paying for hotels personal opinion pet ownership pitbull play players pooper popular pound sand program protect real estate reason reform religion request revenue rewards program rights road trip save school identity school pride school spirit service simple sketchy slang someone state struggle support system take down taste teachers thank you timucuan traffic laws traffic stop universities unpredictability usage vehicle pet peeves welcome workplace