June 22, 2006

Urban forests: Boston gets rooted. San Francisco fades.

'The shrinking of San Francisco's urban forest must be halted and the trend reversed' reports today's San Francisco Examiner. The article, titled "The city's urban forest fading," is based on a report issued by the Urban Forestry Council. The council asserts that the number of trees planted is less than the number of trees removed from the canopy. Overall, the council would like a 3% increase in tree cover, from 668,000 trees to 835,000 trees. Some of this coverage can be planted along city streets, which have a carrying capacity of 127,000 trees. Currently, there are 106,000 street trees. On the other side of the country, the Boston Sunday Globe (June 18) reported on the Greater Boston Urban Forest Inventory, a collaboration between several agencies and organizations including the Urban Ecology Institute and the Boston Parks Department. Boston has an estimated 50,000 street trees (and 75,000 park trees based on a decade-old survey).* According to the Globe, not only will the inventory provide the city with accurate, comprehensive tree information for management purposes, it will serve as the basis of environmental justice research. Specifically, the inventory data will be used "to establish links between neighborhood greenery and residents' health, safety, and psychological well-being." The inventory is not only a critical tool, highlighting the economic value of urban trees; it is also a progressive tool, which, as a mother and daughter team noted, residents can use to make their neighborhoods look more 'like home.' * I worked as urban forester with the parks department from 2001 to 2004.

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