how trees are (de) valued

News item: A property developer has been convicted and fined $5000 for illegally cutting down 12 significant trees on the site of his planned $20 million mansion. He paid $24 million for the block of land. As well as the fine he was ordered to pay court costs of $8000.  

The total penalty for removing the trees amounted to the relatively paltry sum of $13000.

The property developer took the matter seriously and was reportedly very embarassed. He denied knowing the trees were deemed significant, and was unaware he needed a permit to remove the trees.

Clearly the property developer didn't value the trees, didn't notice their beauty, age or cultural significance, even when they were in front of his eyes. He couldn't have known anything about the world of nature. He seemed unaware that mature trees create an ecosystem for insects, birds and fungi, and that when he removed the trees he was destroying an entire ecosystem that took a very long time to grow and evolve.

Yet as a property developer, this man, oblivious to the natural world, presumably regularly makes decisions about land clearing and building construction for people and communities!

The other day, while thinking about this news item, I went to Bunnings to buy wood chips for mulch. Naturally I chose a recycled product.  Bunnings  advertises that they sell things cheaper than anyone else. I like to save money, but when things are very cheap I worry about who got ripped off in the supply chain. In this case I was shocked at the checkout to be told: this bag of wood chips is $4!



Tree in Namadgi National Park, Australian Capital Territory

Comments

  1. There are always people who don't see the value of the nature. That's so sad.

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    1. Hi Satu, yes, and it's even sadder when they contribute to the destruction of nature, isn't it?

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  2. The lame excuse 'I didn't know' would cut no ice with me. Everyone knows that you just can't cut trees down without an extremely good reason. Perhaps his punishment should have been to buy replacement trees of the same type, and of a fairly good height already, and have them planted in exactly the same position as before. That and a good horse whipping!

    P.S.
    We LOVE Bunnings although I've you I do sometimes wonder how their things can be so cheap.

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    1. hi Kirk, Replacing the trees - good idea, horse whipping - maybe??????(lol)

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  3. Large trees have a lot of value, and I'm not surprised this developer was fined. I bet he looks at trees with different eyes from now on!

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    1. let's hope so (I'm a bit cynical sometimes)

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  4. A mansion without big, beautiful trees? Why bother....

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    1. he must have had a rather different vision. Maybe he thought deciduous trees make a mess, like my mother in law who hates them.

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  5. I think we have to face it, there are some people who just don't care about the environment. I doubt the developer will have learned his lesson, the fine seems so paltry compared to the profit he will make on the property.
    When we see venerable old trees we can't help but think of the wildlife they have supported for sometimes hundreds of years. Our old dead oak is still supporting wildlife, it has Nuthatches and Great Spotted Woodpeckers feeding on the grubs under the bark and the Tawney Owl uses it as a perch during the night.It must be at least 300 yrs old, just think of all the changes it has seen in the world - amazing.

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    1. changes in the world, and huge numbers of creatures it has nurtured over that time, even now when dead. You're right, we have to accept differences in people, the problem is to limit his power to do harm to the environment. thanks for the visit and comment, pauline.

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  6. Well at least he was fined. That's something I suppose. I agree with Kirk Dale. I think the developer should have been made to re-plant with similar trees ... to the value of the fine!

    I too worry about the cheaper products at places like Bunnings. What were the corners cut to get the prices that low?

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    1. Hi Bernie, Replacing the trees, is a good idea, but I don't know how it would work in practice on a private block. I try to support smaller hardware shops but they've nearly all folded. Probably due to Bunnings. This is all quite depressing, I'll try to think of something happy for next post.

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  7. The trouble, Catmint, is that no number of rules will change the content of a human being. I heard all about this story too and was surprised, like you, that no-one noticed what should and should not have been done. All involved are supposed to be professionals, and are supposed to know what they're doing, but a qualification doesn't mean you have any real understanding. Melbourne, and the world, will really be able to grow when there's an appreciation of inner understanding, as distinct from outer qualifications.

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    1. I suppose it's about behaving ethically and responsibly, everyone is never going to do that.

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  8. A neighbor who is a contractor decided to cut out the trees and bushes in the wild area behind his house. He knew he was going to far and the land was not his but he wanted the land cleared more next to his property...our nature police in New York caught him and he was fined about $10,000 and then he had to replace all the trees and bushes with natives he took out...I think it probably cost him $15, 00 or more but he was also embarrassed...It is sad how many home owners here cut down trees as I am trying to save mine.

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    1. dear donna, at least we have nature police and nature laws in our countries, that do prosecute people like the property developer I wrote about and your neighbour.

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  9. He should have been fined by the foot. I'm sure the fee would have been much steeper. There's no way he can be a property developer and claim he didn't know tree removal was a potential legal issue. He's a pretty rotten liar.

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  10. Sadly, I bet the developer secretly thought of the 13,000 fine as the cost of doing business. We experienced something similar almost in our backyard. A local landowner decided to clear cut the wooded area just behind our home. This despite the land was designated as "protected valley lands". I called to complain, but it was to late to stop him. The only silver lining is that the land was re-zoned to prevent any future development. Hopefully, the trees will eventually return.

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  11. A difficult read. His attitude should have been put in jail for awhile instead of just fined. It seems like he just sipped his coffee and didn't seem to care. The right thing to be done here? Replace those trees with the same trees and try and undo the damage.....which has already been done but at least there would be an attempt to reestablish this area again....in our 100 years. Sad.

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  12. Terribly sad. Not only do I find the fine paltry, I'm amazed by the lack of concern at the removal of important trees. The damage is done--but perhaps he should have been required to make a more sizable donation to support reforestation or something significant? So sorry to hear about such callousness.

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  13. thanks so much dear cyberfriends for the comments - we all agree about this post - much less controversial than the last post! (lol) cheers, catmint

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