Due to cutbacks in a Bureau of Forestry decimated by budget cuts in recent years, Chicago risks losing all 91,000 of its parkway trees. Removal and replacement costs are estimated at $70 million to $100 million over the next five-to-seven years.
In 2008, Chicago set out to treat 80 percent of its 91,000 parkway ash trees over a four-year period. The cutbacks dramatically altered the plan to the point where only 18,000 trees have been treated with the single injection. Unless the cutbacks are reversed and soon, Chicago will fast reach the tree equivalent of the point of no return. Thousands of trees will die, depriving Chicago of the “urban canopy” needed to cool homes, reduce watering costs, preserve home values and reduce flooding.