American Forests Celebrates Infrastructure Week 2019
It’s Infrastructure Week! This is the seventh year in a coalition-led effort to stress rebuilding and modernizing America’s infrastructure. The message is clear: America’s future will be shaped by the infrastructure choices we make today. And forests ARE infrastructure.
It’s a critical topic that incorporates transportation, water, energy and other built infrastructure systems, but American Forests contends that forests and city trees must also be incorporated into any infrastructure plan.
“We assert that urban forests are the cornerstone of green infrastructure services — like stormwater runoff control, pollutant filtration, energy efficiency and more — and are just as vital for a modern city as any other type of infrastructure and deserve the same investment,” says Jad Daley, president and CEO of American Forests.
To make the most of the urban tree canopy, we provide these infrastructure suggestions:
- Connect urban forests. Tree clusters that don’t look beyond parcel boundaries aren’t providing maximum effects. A belt of trees provides a net cooling effect, increased energy efficiency and more significant noise reduction than trees clusters can on their own.
- Link urban forest systems to urban stormwater management. Calculating trees’ actual measure of stormwater uptake will quickly prove their usefulness.
- Accommodate large trees with suspended pavement systems. Instead of just planting small trees, this updated method allows sidewalks to be rerouted around the trunk and eliminates the need to prune the root and damage the tree.
- Change codes. Write new municipal codes that expressly state that green infrastructure is an acceptable — even preferred — alternative to impervious surfaces and an effective tool in stormwater management.
- Identify areas for future plantings. Organize these plantings based on needs, not just beautification, but expressly to manage stormwater runoff, buffer streams and provide air quality control.
- Engage the community to plant trees on private land.
Not only do we at American Forests, like our Infrastructure Week collaborators, not want the future to pass us by; we want a healthy, resilient future for our nation’s infrastructure — and for our communities. Forests are infrastructure, and trees play a vital role in communities both large and small, both urban and rural. Let’s #PLANTFORTOMORROW!