Detroit, Mich.; October 17, 2013 — At a tree planting event today in Detroit’s River Rouge Park, the city’s largest park, national conservation organization American Forests, alongside funding partners, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and U.S. Forest Service, announced that a multi-month assessment of the park revealed that its trees provide an equivalent of $2.48 million in public benefits each year, whereas their replacement cost, if lost, would be $84 million.

The study, commissioned by American Forests and conducted by Davey Resource Group, a division of The Davey Tree Expert Company, analyzed the 1,184-acre River Rouge Park and its 140,000 trees to discover the environmental, social and health benefits that the urban oasis supplies to Detroit’s more than 700,000 residents. The $2.84 million in benefits relates to how effectively the River Rouge Park trees filter air pollution, sequester carbon and control rainwater.

“As part of our Community ReLeaf program, American Forests is working with cities like Detroit to assess the tree canopies in major metropolitan areas to determine the long-term benefits of urban forests,” said Scott Steen, American Forests CEO. “By investing in Detroit, American Forests, Bank of America and our other local partners hope to raise the awareness of citizens and civic leaders of the critical importance of trees to the well-being of the city.”

Today’s event, hosted by local nonprofit The Greening of Detroit, in which local Bank of America employees helped plant trees in Rouge Park, is just one of many that will be conducted this fall in the Motor City. Based on data gleaned from the study, American Forests, Bank of America and the Forest Service will be working with local partners to conduct strategic tree planting efforts with a goal of boosting the benefits that Rouge Park is already supplying to Detroit’s residents.

“We’re committed to helping address social and economic issues impacting people and cities across the nation,” said Matthew Elliott, Michigan Market president, Bank of America. “By working with American Forests and local partners on this restoration project, we are investing in a landscape that will provide benefits to the city for generations to come.”

U.S Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell has called urban trees “the hardest working trees in America.” The Forest Service is active in more than 7,000 communities across the U.S., helping them to better plan and manage their urban forests.

This assessment and restoration work in Detroit is part of the new American Forests Community ReLeaf program, which is doing assessments in five cities this fall. With funding support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service, Community ReLeaf is conducting analyses in Asbury Park, N.J.; Atlanta, Ga.; Detroit, Mich.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Pasadena, Calif., to help improve knowledge about and of the benefits urban forests provide to cities and their residents.

About American Forests
American Forests restores and protects urban and rural forests. Founded in 1875, the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the country has served as a catalyst for many of the most important milestones in the conservation movement, including the founding of the U.S. Forest Service, the national forest and national park systems and literally thousands of forest ecosystem restoration projects and public education efforts. Since 1990, American Forests has planted more than 44 million trees in forests throughout the U.S. and in 44 countries, resulting in cleaner air and drinking water, restored habitat for wildlife and fish, and the removal of millions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Learn more at www.americanforests.org.

About the Bank of America Corporate Social Responsibility
Bank of America’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a strategic part of doing business globally. Our CSR efforts guide how we operate in a socially, economically, financially and environmentally responsible way around the world, to deliver for shareholders, customers, clients and employees. Our goal is to help create economically vibrant regions and communities through lending, investing and giving. By partnering with our stakeholders, we create value that empowers individuals and communities to thrive and contributes to the long-term success of our business. We have several core areas of focus for our CSR, including responsible business practices; environmental sustainability; strengthening local communities with a focus on housing, hunger and jobs; investing in global leadership development; and engaging through arts and culture. As part of these efforts, employee volunteers across the company contribute their time, passion and expertise to address issues in communities where they live and work. Learn more at www.bankofamerica.com/about and follow us on Twitter at @BofA_Community.

For more Bank of America news, visit the Bank of America newsroom.

About the U.S. Forest Service
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.

CONTACTS:
Lea Sloan, American Forests, 202-737-1944, lsloan@americanforests.org
Noelle Bell, Bank of America, 704-264-6772, noelle.bell@bankofamerica.com

American Forests is an equal opportunity provider and employer.