The City of New York is trying to count its trees before they are all gone. Several incidents of "arborcide" this year have spurred on hundreds of volunteers and Parks Department workers to start walking the city's 33,278 blocks, clipboards in hand, to find out exactly how many trees do grow in Brooklyn and the other four boroughs.
Police last month arrested a contractor hired to cut down three trees that obstructed a corporate sign on the front of a gym, and a reward of $2,500 was offered for the "murder" of seven other London plane trees. The Parks Department calls a man who they claim chopped down 42 trees to get a better view "The Butcher of Bay Ridge" and wants him to pay $32,000 to replace the big, old trees with 92 new ones.
"It's definitely arborcide in the first degree, but I think technically it's vandalism," says Parks Department spokesman Parke Spencer.
Census takers will note the size, species, and health of the trees. The information will be "put into a huge tree management data base" to be used to help pruners, removers, and planters, Mr. Spencer says. They expect to find 500,000 to 700,000 trees along city sidewalks, about half of them in Queens. An estimated 2 million more are in city parks.
Census co-coordinator Tricia Lindemann …