May 18, 2017 – A leading tree physiologist has labeled the cutting down of 77 trees “murder” and “urban ecocide” related to damage done to Mirabella Villas property earlier this month by unknown vandals. In response, the developers have offered a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the capture, conviction, and payment of restitution by those responsible for the damage.
“Over $11,000.00 of damage was caused to the Mirabella property,” said Marshall Gobuty, developer of the Mirabella Florida home development that has been LEED Platinum, Energy Star, and HERS certified. “We’ve designed and built a safe, modern and dynamic residential community that is the most environmentally friendly one in the region, so the shock and dismay we all felt when we saw what was done is being taken very seriously.”
Dr. Reese Halter, the noted eco-stress tree physiologist, and award-winning broadcaster wrote in a Letter to the Editor published in the Bradenton Times and the Malibu Times on May 14th:
“When I encounter acts of urban ecocide, it deeply disturbs me because we need nature – particularly trees to survive. Urban trees are crucial. They provide life-sustaining shade. Trees are vital as homes for animals including bees, which pollinate 75 percent of all crops that we eat. Trees planted around homes reduce cooling costs by 45 percent, thereby lowering the homeowner’s carbon footprint. Urban trees absorb air pollution and create an essential barrier, which also absorbs noise pollution.”
The trees were planted as part of Mirabella’s eco-friendly approach and energy saving efforts. The trees also served as an attractive physical barrier between the new home community and neighboring Village Green.
“We could have put up an unattractive chain link fence or erected a wall as a barricade to define the property line, but we opted for a more attractive and natural approach with trees as part of Mirabella’s environment friendly design approach,” said Gobuty. “Shortly after the trees were planted Mirabella received some disturbing and threatening emails from residents of a neighboring community. While we are not saying those same people were involved, nor are we accusing the neighboring community’s leadership of condoning anything, we have turned the information over to the Bradenton Police Department, and our own private investigators, who are looking into the matter.”
Plans for replanting the trees are currently underway. Anyone with information about the vandalism is encouraged to contact the Bradenton Police Department’s Detective Lisa Moyett at +1-941-932-9300 regarding case number 17-3736.