Through a New York state grant, Colonie township will shortly have an opportunity to make a measurable impact on climate change, protect local farms and orchards, reduce its carbon footprint, and effect other beneficial changes.
Colonie will be able to plant 1,000 to 1,500 trees after conducting a tree inventory, for which it has received a grant from New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation.
Adding 1000-plus trees native to our area will increase native biomass, which must be at least 70 percent native to sustain a pollinator population. Successfully supporting pollinators means orchards (a major New York industry) and farms can raise the food we eat and continue to bring income into our area.
Native trees sequester carbon from the air better than non-natives. They grow deeper roots and are more robust because they are already adapted to the specific environment here.
In particular, including native trees that are keystone species for our local ecosystem will powerfully increase the impact of the new plantings. Unlike non-natives, a tree from a keystone species (which in Albany County includes native oak, cherry and willow) provides food, shelter, and reproduction habitat for hundreds of varieties of insects, birds and other wildlife. Non-native trees are not equipped to sustain local fauna.
An oak tree’s average lifespan is 900 years. You reap what you sow: planting native trees now will reap benefits for centuries to come.