Recent hurricanes affecting Central America — Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico — were scientifically studied. These studies compared effects of the hurricane on people and properties in forested areas and in areas where the trees were replaced by agriculture. There were no surprises: areas where trees were cut exhibited significantly more severe damage in loss of life and damage of property.
The reason is that the roots of trees markedly improve cohesion of the earth. There are far less flash floods and no movement of mud, which often kill people. The environmentalist principle to save trees got additional confirmation that mankind is protected by trees. This comes to the top of the contribution of trees to fight pollution and remove carbon dioxide from the air. Mainland America is actually a filter of polluted air. The air we get from Asia is polluted and is of low quality. The air we send further to Europe is much cleaner owing to so many trees. We have more trees than at any time in previous history.
In St. John, we have a treasure, which are the trees in the V.I. National Park. We should cherish these trees and resist any attempts to cut them and replace them with buildings and playgrounds. Now, these trees have additional value: they help to limit damage caused by hurricanes.