The entire Brussels Region has more than 600,000 trees, according to a study by KU Leuven. This can be clearly explained by the presence of the Sonian Forest. Although Brussels is committed to green avenues in various places, it can do a lot better in many neighborhoods, and a lot of trees can still be added. The benefits of a green city are possible, so why wait to plant as many trees as possible in Brussels?
Many trees in the city are important: they have a high aesthetic added value in the streetscape and a calming effect. They purify the air, which is very important in a city, especially in ours. Furthermore, they are essential in the climate problem, partly because they retain water, resulting in the chance of solidity. Streets with many trees are cooler and less affected by heat islands.
In winter, trees can block cold winds, which can affect heating costs and therefore the energy bill of local residents. And although they are not often spotted on the streets, conifers have the greatest advantage, as they do not lose their leaves in the colder months. In addition, they are soundproof all year round. These are many advantages for us, but they are also important for other residents of the city. They are of great importance to the urban ecosystem.
To take full advantage of those advantages. The more trees the better, you would think, but that is not just the case. There is more benefit to be gained from a large tree with a horizontal crown than from long rows of smaller trees. The problem with this is that a tree must of course be given the time to grow and even grow as big as the old ones that have been there for centuries. The statues were sometimes the only ones in that place, because all the minerals and water from that place could be absorbed. A single tree less competition from other specimens, so that it can continue to grow almost continuously. It can therefore be a choice to choose tree species that can quickly become very large, but also to plant them a little further apart, consistently extending their growth in a few years not in length, but also in width.
The substrate is important to decide how many stand. In this way the nutrients in the soil can be mapped, but it is also possible to see how much space there is for the roots of the trees. After all, underground there are water pipes, electricity pipes and sometimes cellars and metro tunnels. In small streets it can be a challenge for trees to continue growing underground undisturbed.
It is precisely for this reason that Brussels City submitted a tree plan in 2020. Should be wherever possible. That is why the city council is mapping the subsurface by collaborating with various partners and companies that are also present in the Brussels subsurface. Furthermore, the city will check which tree species come in to get to a certain place, each tree species has advantages and criteria for maintenance and growth potential. Planting the same species of tree everywhere may be nice, but by combining tree species you can avoid diseases that can affect rows of trees of the same species. Jette and Ixelles, among others, have also drawn up a similar tree plan.
The benefits of an even greener city are undeniable and there is still plenty of room to go green. Although this has to be done with some patience: coloring with a large green marker is often faster than with several small markers, and that principle also applies to our city trees.
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