Setting a precedent
Yet another reason cited for removing all of the trees was risk mitigation. I was told that a tree in the right of way had fallen on a car in the township and the individual had sued.
No-one wants a tree to fall onto a road and injure someone, but removing healthy trees in the right-of-way trades one risk for another. In addition, it sets a precedent that can be cited if a tree does fall and cause an injury.
It can also create an expectation that trees anywhere in the township should be removed at the township's expense to "mitigate risk".
The fact is, it's not practical to remove every single tree in the right-of-way. In addition, townships enjoy wide immunity from liability stemming from fallen trees that are in a road right-of-way.