When my friend Charles Mudede, the Marxist poet laureate of Seattle, posted an abstract mini-essay on Facebook this week about the pressing tree canopy debate—a proxy in Seattle’s heated disagreement over density—I couldn’t help looping him into the tree canopy post I published here last month that seconded his point.

My  June 3rd PedChron post linked a City report on Seattle tree canopy that seemed to bear out my sense about my dense Capitol Hill neighborhood: It’s just as lush with tree cover—if not more so—than Seattle’s more idyllic single-family zones.

(In the density debate, single-family zone proponents of slow-growth like to say density leads to thinning tree canopy. Not so, my wild green and dense neighborhood seemed to indicate; score one for density proponents like me.)

Admittedly, Mudede’s post was fairly loopy …

it’s important to note that there is no such thing as a tree. …

Being is a body that’s fixed in time. This is what MC Milk meant when he rapped: “Mom and dad, they knew the time.”

Could it be we are rooted in time the way a tree is rooted in a place? And let’s also keep in mind that some scientists believe that the roots are the brain of a tree. …

…but he also had data that jibed with the notion that Seattle’s increasing density is not at odds with its canopy…

According to Treepedia, the density of Seattle’s forest is second only to Sacramento‘s in the US. Vancouver BC, which is up in Canada and the second-largest city in the Pacific Northwest, has a denser forest than Seattle’s. And exactly how many trees are in our city? The 2012 report Forest Ecosystem Values: Analysis of the Structure, Function, and Economic Benefits estimated there are 4.35 million trees and tree-like shrubs in Seattle. This means there are “7 trees and tree-like shrubs per person.”


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