Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tree Vandalism In Pelham Bay Park

Pin oaks in the South Meadow of Pelham Bay Park were

Wide slabs of bark from 15 Pin Oaks in the South Meadow of Pelham Bay Park were stripped.  (Photo: NYC Parks Department) 


This perp is no tree-hugger.

Cops are hunting a sick tree-killer - or killers - who stripped wide slabs of bark from 15 oak trees in a Bronx park, according to the New York Daily News.  

Parks Department officials discovered the damage last week in the South Meadow of Pelham Bay Park. The 40-foot-tall pin oaks were "girdled," a term that means removing a band of bark from around the trunk of a tree. 

Girdling usually has the effect of killing the tree because it disrupts the vascular system, making it impossible for the tree to distribute water and minerals from its roots to its branches, Parks officials said, calling the act of Bronx arborcide "illegal and very troubling." 

The 15 Pelham Bay Park trees will probably die, said Marianne Anderson, Pelham Bay Park administrator. 

Pin oaks in the South Meadow of Pelham Bay Park were

The bark slabs cut from the trees range in height from six inches to several feet.

"They were stripped of their bark rather savagely," said Anderson.

"This was a hatchet job. Some of the trees have their bark stripped all the way from chest level down to the ground." 

Anderson has worked in the northeast Bronx park for 21 years. She was shocked when her natural areas manager found the damaged trees and brought her to the spot. 

"We were horrified," Anderson said. "It's outrageous that somebody would do something like that. It's incomprehensible. I just don't understand it." 

Parks officials filed a police report and are asking the public to keep an eye out for suspicious activity in the sprawling park. The damage likely occurred sometime during the last week, Anderson said. 

The park administrator has seen girdling used purposedly by forestry workers but never before by vandals. The perpetrator or perpetrators must be knowledgeable about trees, Anderson surmised. 

The pin oaks are located near the oldest tree in the 2,771-acre park, a 400-year-old white oak, and the spot is popular with birders and hikers, she said. The damaged oaks are about 40 years old. 

The tree species, also known as the swamp Spanish oak, is found up and down the East Coast from Connecticut to Georgia. Removing or hurting a park tree is a misdemeanor punishable by a $15,000 fine and/or a year in prison and the girdling in Pelham Bay Park is worth "thousands of dollars" in damage, Anderson said.   

Read More:

Parks Dept.,  Police looking for those who “girdled” pin oaks in Pelham Bay Park,  which could kill the trees , 40-foot oaks victimized by sick "tree killer" 
New York Daily News - October 11,  2012 - By Daniel Beekman 

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