Torpy: Atlanta can’t see the forest for the toppled trees

For decades, a stand of mature oaks and magnolias at the front of Piedmont Hospital provided an oasis along Peachtree Road. But suddenly last month they were gone, downed to make way for a large addition to the land-locked facility.

The action is indicative of what's happening all over town. Trees stand in the way of "progress," as the urge to move In town and build monstrous living spaces has put "X"s on trees all over town.

A Georgia Tech survey in 2008 found that 48 percent of the city is covered under a tree canopy, tops in the nation. Results from a more recent study are pending but they will be sure to show a decreased coverage.

The city has issued 40,000 building permits since 2010, meaning that builders are whacking trees from Chastain Park and Buckhead to Kirkwood and Ormewood Park. But many developers simply wink at the tree ordinance, cutting them down with a catch-me-if-you can attitude. Usually, they are not.