Tree preservation vs. development in Seattle

Real Estate

Seattle is the fastest growing big city of the decade, with more construction cranes crowding its skyline than anywhere else in the nation. Neighborhoods buzz with new high-rises and single family homes underway to house newcomers lured by high-paying technology jobs, world-class universities and easy access to outdoor pursuits.

But all that growth appears to be coming at the expense of one of the Emerald City's most iconic features: its urban forest, whose canopy shades roughly one quarter of Seattle's scenic topography of peaks, valleys and waterways.

Despite a 2007 goal to boost the tree canopy to 30% by 2037, not even the city knows precisely how many western red cedars, bigleaf maples, Douglas fir and western hemlocks have been felled on private property in recent years to make way for development, as permits are not yet required for all removals. But as Seattle's elder groves dwindle, a team of tree-loving locals is rallying friends and neighbors to keep track and push back.

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