Tree Life Expectancy and the Cycle of Urban Development
Since trees can live longer than the buildings, they cohabit the landscape with, development has an enormous impact on the life expectancy of a tree. Developers prefer blank-slates, so levelling the site is common and preferred. Bigger buildings fetch bigger profits, and while mature trees also increase property value, they’re susceptible to damage from nearby excavation, soil compaction, and regrading.
Development Frequency and Tree Survival Rate
The life expectancy of a privately owned tree is tied to (1) how often development happens and (2) the care taken to protect on-site trees during construction. Robust building codes, routine maintenance, flexible zoning, and the housing market influence the former. Setback requirements, market demand, and a cultural appreciation for the value of trees impact the latter. Both can be influenced by strong planning and bylaws that provoke pause or shed light on the benefit of mature trees.