In a letter to the incoming Biden administration, NASF and other avid supporters of urban and community forestry have detailed their recommendations for improving American communities through the maintenance and expansion of urban and community forests.
Our nation’s current and expanding 138 million acres of urban forests and trees are key to addressing priorities identified by the Biden Administration. From combating climate change and creating more equitable communities to improving infrastructure and expanding green jobs, trees and forests in our cities and towns are an essential piece of the equation.
Urban forests and trees provide a multitude of scientifically proven social, economic, and environmental benefits. The ability to reduce air pollution and stormwater runoff, decrease energy consumption, mitigate the heat island effect, and improve human health are just a few of the essential services trees provide to communities. Every year, community trees and forests also provide $18.3 billion in cost savings related to reductions in air pollution, energy use, and greenhouse gases, while the tree-care industry alone generates $17 billion annually in the United States.
Key to supporting urban forests is ensuring we plant the right tree in the right place for the right purpose and maintaining those trees through the entirety of their lifespan. In addition, we must correct the current unequal distribution of trees across our cities, which is strongly correlated with race and income. We need to invest in tree equity to ensure all communities can benefit from robust tree canopy coverage.
With a projected 90% of Americans living in urbanized areas by 2050, now is the time to invest in urban forests and trees to bolster healthy, livable communities and improve the quality of life for all Americans.
Click below to read the letter in full.