10 Best Cities for Urban Forests: New York
- Photo Credit: William Warby
- Biking in New York near the USS Intrepid. Credit: prayitno/Flickr
- The High Line, a public park built on an old, elevated, freight rail line in New York City. Credit: Brian Kusler
- New York. Credit: Graham Styles/Flickr
- Central Park, New York. Credit: Christopher John SSF
New York is home to one of the most well-known urban parks in the world, but with more than eight million people sharing just 300 square miles of land, it is surprising that a significant chunk of the city, 19.5 percent, is parkland and there is an average of five trees per acre for a canopy of 21 percent.
New York’s urban forestry program is based on a series of comprehensive plans, including several that focus on wetlands and green infrastructure. The mayor has set a goal of planting one million new trees by 2017, which is being achieved through extensive public and community outreach and partnership. Currently, New York’s urban forest stores 1.35 million tons of carbon at a value of $24.9 million and removes more than 2,000 tons of pollution each year for $10.6 million in value. And, while these figures are impressive, it’s estimated that the potential canopy in New York is 43 percent, which would be achieved by removing some of the city’s impervious surface.