09/06/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A Setback In The War On The War On Trees

ATLANTA -- So proud are Atlantans of their sprawling canopy of dogwoods, magnolias and pines -- and, of course, peach trees -- that builders must pay hundreds of dollars for every tree they uproot, even with the city's permission.

The penalty for violators is far heftier: One developer was recently fined $24,000 for illegal tree clearance, and Tyler Perry, the movie actor and director, was penalized $177,000 for unauthorized deforestation on his property.

But in the contest between trees and the area's rampant development, the bulldozers have often won. That may explain why many tree lovers were upset last week when Tom Coffin, 64, the city's senior arborist, was fired without explanation.

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