Phillip Elden has dedicated his life – both personally and professionally — to the conserving land and animals in his home state of Oregon. Here, the Native Oregon founder talks about tree conservation strategies that can be implemented by homeowners across the nation.
Q: Why is tree conservation important?
Phillip Elden: Trees are one of our most important natural resources. Not only do they help clear the air of pollutants, they also a provide valuable habitat for thousands of animals across North America. Birds and squirrels, for instance, make their homes in and around trees while certain insects rely on the canopy shade for survival.
Q: How can community leaders discuss tree conservation efforts with township citizens?
Phillip Elden: The first step would be to obtain and distribute information regarding local trees and wildlife. This can be culled from horticulturists, landscape architects, and forestry professionals. Information can then be discussed in length at community meetings.
Q: Is it enough to simply plant trees?
Phillip Elden: While planting even a single tree is a great start, the type of tree planted and its location also matter. Non-native trees may not be suitable for sustaining an area’s wildlife. Even flowering trees, which are important to bees and other pollinators, should be strategically chosen for their ability to thrive in a specific landscape and climate.
Q: Should a county or state impose regulatory measures when it comes to land clearing?
Phillip Elden: Absolutely, especially in areas of human overgrowth. In areas such as Tampa, Florida and Cincinnati, Ohio, authorities have taken measures to require land owners to apply for a permit before any work is done that requires removal of the flora and fauna. These rules are not meant to infringe upon people’s rights on their own land but to best protect that and surrounding terrain from disruption due to human activities.