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As reported by a local newspaper, three mature trees were cut down in a forest near a residential community. When they found out what had happened, the residents of the area became very angry. They were upset because they had not been consulted before the trees had been removed. Second, they did not like that they trees had been cut down. When they found out that another 15 trees were scheduled to be chopped down during the next week, they formed a human blockade by chaining themselves to the trees.
If this tactic was unsuccessful in saving the trees, they threatened to burn down the rest of the forst as a protest (Greigen, 87-88).
Effective two-way communication about the reasons for cutting down the trees might have prevented this conflict. the conflict in this situation is based on a lack of imformation that local residents need to understand why the decision was made to cut down the mature trees. This conflict might have been avoided if the local residents had been invited to attend public meetings about the decision, and if they had an opportunity to express their views and to learn the reasons for the decision before it was finalized.
It is not too late to provide them with the facts to help them to understand why the trees need to be removed. The local residents need to know that only old and diseased box elder trees will be cut down. The box elder, or Acer negundo, is a type of maple tree that is widespread throughout the United States, southern Canada, Europe, and China.
In Canada, the box elder is often called the Manitoba maple.
On farms in the west it is used a wind barrier. It is not a very pretty tree because of its irregular shape. It grows more like a weed than a tree. The three trees that were cut down were 50 years old, and their limbs had cracked during recent ice storms. Also their trunks had become infested with bugs (Greigen, 88). These facts should be printed and given to the protesters so that they can understand why the box elders should be removed. Furthermore, research shows that many people who suffer from allergies are in danger of getting hay fever from the pollen of box elder leaves: “All maple pollen is highly allergenic, but A. negundo is the only species which pollinates exclusively by wind and causes the most problems for hay-fever sufferers.
Box-elder pollen is regarded as the most allergenic spring tree pollen. (Multidata, Inc.). Therefore, nearby residents who suffer from hay fever should be informed of these facts so that they can understand why the box elders should be removed. Some of the residents who have environmental concerns need to knw that allowing trees to grow randumly sometimes is not good for the ecosystem that they share (Thomas, 43). Box elders grow to heights of 50-75 feet and their thick canopy prevents sunlight from reaching the forest floor. Cutting down the box elder trees will allow more sunlight to reach the floor of the forest which will regenerate plants and shrubs and provide food for butterflies, birds, and ground animals.
This is the most important reason that the box elders had to to be removed. The residents need to know that there is a plan to replant the forest in the spring with a variety of saplings to replace the sickly box elders that have been cut down. In conclusion, the local residents who are protesting the sudden removal of several mature trees in the neighbouring forest need to be the facts and the reasons behind the decision before they take drastic action such a burning down the forest. They need to be reassured that the decision will benefit their community. They need to assured that in the future they will be consulted about all decisions that affect them directly. Two-way communication is essential so that people do not become “boxed-in” a conflict situation.
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