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Can’t see the forest—or the trees

Margaret Wright

I'm still poring over the findings of a U.S. Forest Service study released last month that gave Albuquerque a high ranking in two key areas—and neither has stellar tidings for our local climate and quality of life.

Researchers documented a high loss of our urban forest area and an increase of impervious ground cover. This means that trees disappeared across the city at the same time that rooftops and pavement spread. The study found us up there in terms of tree loss with New Orleans and fast-growing, drought-stricken Houston.

More impervious surfaces mean more challenges for our thirsty city. Water that falls on an open field has a drastically different outcome compared to water falling on blacktop. The more paved-over, compacted area there is, the less water is absorbed into the ground. It’s also more likely that the water that does soak in (or run off to the river) is polluted and prone to flooding.

You can check out the full text of the Forest Service study here.

 

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