By Robbie Brown
So proud are Atlantans of their sprawling canopy of dogwoods, magnolias and pines that builders must pay hundreds of dollars for every tree they uproot, even with the city’s permission. The penalty for violators is far heftier: One developer was recently fined $24,000 for illegal tree clearance, and Tyler Perry, the movie actor and director, was penalized $177,000 for unauthorized deforestation on his property. That may explain why many were upset last week when Tom Coffin, 64, the city’s senior arborist, was fired without explanation. Coffin, a vigilant defender of the city’s trees, said in an interview that he had complained to his superiors about the “almost total lack of enforcement” by other arborists. Before being fired, Mr. Coffin had issued 70 citations for illegal tree removal this year, while the five other arborists in his division issued a total of 29 citations.
For the full story, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/06/us/06atlanta.html?ref=science