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Hello fellow BESTers,

If you can forgive one more e-mail on this listserv about the 
Corry Village project, I'd like to provide some perspective on the 
role of the Lakes, Vegetation and Landscaping Committee (LVL). Any 
project on campus that involves the removal or relocation of 
living trees must go through the LVL for review (trees that have 
died or that pose an immediate safety hazard are exempt from this 
review). Many of the projects that we review involve the removal 
or relocation of only one or a few trees.

The Corry Village project, in comparison with most projects 
presented to the LVL, involves the removal of an unusually large 
number of trees. However, it was clear to me (and I believe to the 
other members of the LVL) in the presentation by the project 
planners that they had done everything possible to minimize the 
impact of the project on the existing vegetation. The routing of 
the infrastructure improvements had been adjusted to avoid 
impacting other tree species on site (see note #2 in the "Corry 
Village tree removal" attachment in Dedee's e-mail). The idea of 
using the wood from the cut trees for furniture or trim in campus 
housing is an interesting one, and is over and above the 
university requirements for tree replacement or mitigation.

Regarding the question about heritage trees: generally, a tree is 
considered a heritage tree if it is over 20 inches in diameter 
(the size varies somewhat depending on the species; the specifics 
are available in the "treemitigationpolicy" pdf, also attached to 
Dedee's e-mail). Heritage trees are replaced 4:1; non-heritage 
trees are replaced 2:1. In cases where trees cannot be replaced 
onsite, the project must pay a fee to a tree mitigation fund. 
Mitigation fees start at $500 per tree and go up with increasing 
tree size (this is also detailed in the "treemitigationpolicy" 
pdf).

I applaud the interest and concern that individuals have expressed 
regarding the removal of trees on our campus. At the same time, I 
feel that the existing tree mitigation policy and the LVL 
effectively discourage tree removal except in cases where it is 
absolutely necessary. The fact that a committee exists whose main 
purpose is to review the proposed removal of any living tree, 
anywhere on campus, demonstrates the university's commitment to 
maintaining the vegetation and greenspace on our campus. Further 
information on the LVL and related university policies is 
available at http://www.facilities.ufl.edu/lvl/index.htm.

Finally, for students who would like to become more involved, my 
term as student representative to the LVL ends this summer and to 
my knowledge a replacement has not been selected. I have worked 
with this committee for the past year and can assure you that this 
is a group of good people who are as concerned as you are about 
our trees, lakes, and natural areas. Students interested in 
becoming part of the LVL, or any other university committee, may 
complete an application at http://www.dso.ufl.edu/vpsa/. 
Applications for 2009-2010 committee service are due June 12, 
2009.


--
Corrie Pieterson
FEER Lab
School of Forest Resources and Conservation
School of Natural Resources and Environment
University of Florida