The City of Cleveland Office of Sustainability announced today a new community-wide collaboration to reverse an annual trend of tree canopy loss in the City of Cleveland that totals more than 97 acres.
The new initiative known as the Cleveland Tree Plan was created as a partnership between five organizations including the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Holden Arboretum, LAND Studio, and Western Reserve Land Conservancy. The plan is a comprehensive assessment of the city’s current urban forest and a unified strategy to reclaim the city’s lost canopy.
“Cleveland was once nicknamed The Forest City, but we have lost about 100,000 public trees since 1940,” said City of Cleveland Chief of Sustainability Jenita McGowan. “With this tree plan and the input of our invaluable community partners, this plan will recognize tress as a critical community infrastructure, reverse the trend of canopy loss, and assume full stewardship for the tree infrastructure.”
The City of Cleveland’s urban forest intercepts 21 billion gallons of rainwater every year, removes 42,000 tons of air pollution every year, and increases property values by an estimated annual $4.5 million. In addition, the urban forest helps maintain a habitat for wildlife, improves business districts, and blocks noise and pollution by almost 50% for those living near highways.
Reclamation of the city’s tree canopy is crucial as further loss will have significant negative impacts on the city and its inhabitants. As the canopy continues to decrease, so do the benefits they provide, with lower canopy neighborhoods feeling the impacts first.