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NGO: Thousands of trees yearly disappear along Czech roads

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Prague, Dec 6 (CTK) – Roadside trees have been steadily shrinking in the Czech Republic and their number declined by 6,454 last year alone, the Arnika environmentalist group said on Wednesday, adding that the number of trees flanking roads has dropped by 87,000 since 2003.

Last year, the proportion of the cut down trees to the newly planted was 3-2, Arnika wrote in a press release.

It said the alleys along roads are an inseparable part of the Czech landscape. In addition, they protect roads from weather swings.

“On tropical days, they protect the road surface from being damaged by heat. During torrential rains, they firm the ground and retain water. In winter, they protect roads from wind gusts and snowdrifts,” Arnika wrote.

Some experts say roadside trees pose a danger to drivers and should be removed from along roads or their selected sections at least.

Last year, the police registered 2,697 vehicles crashing in a tree, in which 75 people died.

According to Arnika, the accidents are not to blame on tree alleys but on drivers’ conduct.

In 2016, the highest number of trees, 2,562, was removed from along roads in the South Bohemia Region. However, thanks to its 482 newly planted trees, the region finished in the middle of the list assessing the disappearance of trees in each of the country’s 13 regions.

The Plzen Region, west Bohemia, ended last with the 11-1 proportion of removed and newly planted trees, sharing the bottom position with the Usti Region, north Bohemia, where 473 trees were cut with not a single one replacing them.

Only in five regions, the number of new trees prevailed over those removed last year, Arnika writes, referring to the regions of Olomouc, South Moravia, Moravia-Silesia, Liberec and Central Bohemia, the last mentioned being the most successful with the 1-9 proportion.

Arnika writes that over 217,000 trees have disappeared from along road since 2003, when the monitoring started, but have been replaced with about 130,000 only.

“The situation might change to the better from now on. The government has approved a plan of the country’s adaptation to climate change, which directly requires systematic planting [of trees] along roads,” Arnika wrote.

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