5 Ways Construction Damages Trees
An important part of our civilizations’ growth has been construction. From the construction of straw huts to skyscrapers, we have come a long way. But creating these structural wonders doesn’t come free of cost. Whenever we create new buildings or add to the existing ones, a significant amount of damage is done to the trees in the area around the site. This damage is often permanent and gradually with time the greenery around starts to die.
Before you read more about tree protection, let me share some of the ways in which the trees are damaged during construction:
1. It compacts the soil
At a construction site, there are dozens of heavy vehicles and machinery present. Many construction workers are also present on site. This puts huge pressure on the soil and this added pressure ultimately results in the contraction of the soil.
It blocks the feeder roots of the trees and they struggle for the air spaces to extract nutrients and water from the soil. If the water at a particular level runs out, there is no room for the trees to expand its roots. The large piles of debris that is accumulated at the foot of the trees are the primary cause of this misery.
2. It causes damage and removes the top soil
The most fertile part of the soil, the top soil is also the one most prone to different kinds of erosion. On top of that, at a construction site, due to the presence of so much machinery, the damage to the top soil is multiplied. Infact, stats reveal that each year, over 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil is lost due to soil erosion.
Apart from providing the trees with important nutrients, the top soil also acts as a protective layer for the tree as the mycorrhizal fungi present in it helps break down toxic chemicals present in the nutrients. Without the top soil, there would be no mycorrhizal fungi and the trees will be much more prone to damage from insects and diseases. You need to protect this layer of the soil as it’s damage will lead to the early death of the trees.
3. Tree roots are damaged during the process
Whenever there is a construction project, a number of roots are damaged along the way. Irrespective of the kind of development, the roots of about 50% trees in the proximity of that area is greatly affected.
On top of that, a foundation has to be laid underground which results in cutting down several important structural roots that help in holding the tree upright over the ground. Damage to these roots will cause instability to the tree and it will be susceptible to falling off during strong winds.
4. It results in physical injury to the parts over ground
Most of the time, construction units place heavy machinery around the trees as there is a less chance of people damaging it there. But as the machines are protected, the trees are damaged.
The trunk of the tree often suffers from cuts caused by moving heavy machinery. The trees’ branches are broken off due to constant disturbance caused by moving the machines. These injuries to the upper parts of the tree are permanent in nature and if there is extreme damage, it can be deadly for the trees.
5. Young trees are prematurely exposed to elements
Trees in a forest grow in a community. The older, taller ones protect the younger ones from strong sunlight and winds. During construction, when these trees suffer due to various reasons and after a time, end up being removed from the spot, the younger trees get exposed to strong winds and strong sunlight before they are ready for it.
Exposure to excessive sunlight leads to sun-clad in these trees and exposure to strong winds might result in them falling off completely. Thus, if the older trees are damaged in any way, you will also be damaging the younger ones and ultimately, all the trees around the site will suffer from damage due to the construction.
Take care of the greens
Just like constructing new structures, it is important that we preserve the ones that we have been blessed by nature itself. It is important to undertake construction projects. But while doing so, you must take the utmost care and precautions so that you cause minimal damage to the trees in the area.