WOODBINE — State officials came to a tree-lined community Wednesday to discuss the importance of planting and maintaining trees, especially at a time when urban development in New Jersey has surpassed the total area covered by trees in the state.
The Borough of Woodbine hosted a Woodlands Management workshop, where state officials met with representatives of communities across southern New Jersey to discuss how trees can help their communities become sustainable ones.
“We need to make sure that activities are easy to follow and understand,” said Donna Drewes, a community planner with the Municipal Land Use Center of The College of New Jersey in Ewing, Mercer County.
Drewes explained a number of projects that communities should participate in if they want to work toward achieving sustainable places to live, meaning that the actions benefit both current and future residents.
In addition to planting trees, Drewes said communities should monitor the health of their trees, maintain trees by pruning them properly and establish programs that keep trees separated from any development that might pose risks to their health.
In order to achieve these goals, state officials said communities need to make sure multiple groups are working together.
“You need to create a plan that sets up all of the resources to manage trees together,” said Todd Wyckoff, a forester with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s community forestry program.
Wyckoff said that means organizations like local Shade Tree Commissions — community groups that monitor and plant trees — and public works departments need to cooperate to make sure that trees are taken care of properly.
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