In February 2018 we felled 630 trees. A total of around 8,000 trees will be cleared between November 2018 and March 2019. You can find a general map of the sites involved at the end of this article. In theory, tree felling is only permitted between November 1st and March 31st. So, during this felling season, we have to fell every tree in those areas where we plan to start work before 1 November 2019. Our tree-felling operations are based on the ‘just in time’ principle. That is to say ‘not until it is really necessary’. A tree felling permit has already been granted for these 14,400 trees. Also, as expected, further refinements to the design mean that additional trees may have to be removed. We have also vacated one work area, as the Nuon energy company wants to build a district heating plant on that site. This means we’ll have to move to a new location which, in turn, means that extra trees will need to be felled. All in all, this extra felling will involve around 160 trees during this tree-felling period. To this end, an application for a tree felling permit will be submitted.
We need to fell these trees to push ahead with the construction of Zuidasdok. Space is needed for widening the southern section of the A10 orbital motorway and running part of it through an underground tunnel, and for refurbishing the junctions. This will create space for other developments, such as the expansion and renovation of Amsterdam Zuid station. Once felling operations have been completed, we will start ‘preloading’ these cleared sites with piles of sand to compress the subsurface soil, creating a stable base for future road surfaces and temporary roads for construction traffic.
Many of the trees involved are those lining the southern section of the A10 orbital motorway and at the De Nieuwe Meer and Amstel junctions. Most of these are of relatively poor quality. They have sprouted up spontaneously, so they are growing too close together. In addition, their roots are completely intertwined. All in all, most of the trees lining the road would be unlikely to survive if they were transplanted. Those trees that are still healthy and that are expected to have a long life ahead of them will be transplanted, but they are very few in number. We want to reuse some of the wood from the felled trees. For instance, the Stadshout foundation used wood from trees felled in February 2018 to make kitchen chopping boards.
New green areas
It may all sound a bit gloomy, but removing green areas is just one side of the coin. Following the completion of Zuidasdok, there will be extensive re-greening throughout the project area. There will, admittedly, be fewer trees in future than there are right now. However, these will be of better quality, and so will create an equally green ambiance. We will also plant these areas with a greater diversity of species. Not only will this look wonderful, it will also be good for plants and animals. Another feature will be the DokDakPark, an elevated park beside Amsterdam Zuid station. The felled trees represent a value of approximately 2.6 million euros. We intend to fully restore this value to the Zuidasdok project area, in the form of green areas. If we are unable to hit this target, we will deposit the remaining value in the Zuidas replanting fund. This will be used to finance work on the green areas in Zuidas.