Weather and Urban Forests: For Better and Worse


by Melinda Housholder, Urban Forests Program Director
Bike riding in the park In the last few weeks, many folks, especially on the East Coast, have witnessed the realities of urban forests — for better and for worse. With temperatures across the country exceeding heat records, urban forests have played a critical role in providing a shade refuge for pedestrians, cyclists and anyone stuck out in the heat. For example, in a rather un-canopied area of Baltimore, with the sun beaming down on a 100-degree day, I witnessed several people huddled under a single street tree as they waited for their bus. According to EPA, “shaded surfaces may be 20-45°F cooler than the peak temperatures of unshaded materials.“ Tre... (Read More)



Raising Urban Forests


by Michelle Werts
sacramento urban forestAs the old adage goes, it takes a village to raise a child. I don’t know how true this is for child rearing, but I do know it takes a village to raise a forest in a city. I’ve spent the last week in Sacramento, California, and Portland, Oregon, meeting with the dedicated men and women who help keep their cities’ urban forests in tip-top shape — and what a job that is. In Sacramento, every tree that the city possesses — we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of trees — was deliberately placed there, beginning way back at the city’s founding in 1850. This is because Sacramento’s climate isn’t so tree-friendly. Hot ... (Read More)



Urban Trees For Carbon Offsets


by Melinda Housholder, Urban Forests Program Director
California power plant Earlier this month, I attended a workshop in Davis, California, called “Urban Forests & Carbon Markets” that American Forests participated in and co-sponsored through a grant with the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban & Community Forestry Program. As California takes the lead to develop a cap-and-trade model to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions statewide, American Forests is excited to be involved in efforts to advance urban forest projects for use in this cap-and-trade model. But before we get into my experience at the workshop, a little background: What’s going on in California? In 2006, California committed to reduce ... (Read More)



More Trees, Please


by Katrina Marland
Across this blog and throughout the American Forests website, you can find a wealth of information about the various and sundry benefits that trees can provide — from the physical (cleaner air) to the economic (higher property value). Trees can also tell us a lot of things, whether it is the inconsequential cliché etched in their bark that “Jimmy loves Sally” or the more important (at least scientifically) history of a region’s climate. And, as pointed out recently by another blogger, trees can also tell us how wealthy a neighborhood is — from space. In his blog, Per Square Mile, Tim DeChant discusses a 2008 study published in L... (Read More)



Trees Make Urban Communities More Livable


by Amanda Tai
I’ve already talked about the importance of trees in urban areas and the many benefits they provide — like increased opportunities for outdoor recreation, community economic growth and improved air quality. Now, the buzz around urban forests has reached the ears of Congress with the Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act, H.R. 709. The bill’s language requires the Department of Housing and Urban Development to establish and administer a grant-giving program for park and recreational projects in urban areas. Many types of projects could be funded by this program, like planting trees in an abandoned lot to turn it into a communi... (Read More)