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Remnants of English ivy cling to the tree trunks. Hacked off about seven feet above the ground, their leaves withered, the vines now resemble twisted ropes. They were felled by the blade of Jeremy Dahl, aka Machete Man, who is saving metro Atlanta’s forests by removing the invasive species slowly strangling them.
Despite stringent ordinances aimed at protecting those trees, our canopy faces a paradoxical new threat: renewed interest in urban living. Population growth within the city and a surge in denser development may represent eco-friendly shifts from Atlanta’s sprawl, but those trends are paired with infill development that puts trees at risk and reduces space to plant replacements.