Trees in cities provide health, employment and climate resiliency benefits that everyone should have. They help fulfill our basic needs, such as breathing fresh air and drinking clean water. Trees also cool neighborhoods, which reduces heat-related illnesses and utility costs, and generate wealth by creating tree-related career opportunities. Much like buildings, streets and sewer lines, trees are critical infrastructure that improve our quality of life.
But a map of tree cover in America’s cities is too often a map of income and race. That’s because, due to decades of redlining and other discriminatory policies, trees are often sparse in neighborhoods with more low-income families and people of color. Studies show that the neighborhoods that were redlined have fewer trees, preventing the people living there from reaping the benefits trees provide.
To achieve full Tree Equity, we need to plant and grow 500 million trees across urbanized America, according to our 2021 Tree Equity Score. Simply put, Tree Equity is about ensuring there are trees in every part of every city.