Equity in Resilience
American Forests has been working in Miami-Dade County for several years to address the many environmental challenges the region faces over the coming decades.
As a city with a tropical monsoon climate built barely above sea level, climate change is likely to have a profound impact on the area, particularly affecting the city’s most underserved residents. Summers are already becoming even hotter, storms more intense, and severe damage worse. Currently, Greater Miami has relatively little built and natural infrastructure in place to mitigate the impacts of these severe threats.
Through our Community ReLeaf program, we are working with government, nonprofit, corporate and community organizations to plant and maintain one million new trees. The goal is to increase Miami-Dade’s tree canopy to 30 percent. To build local capacity, we have developed countywide urban tree canopy assessments that establish a scientific basis to guide limited tree planting funds to areas with the most environmental and socioeconomic needs. We are developing a canopy action plan based on that data and created an online canopy planner tool so each municipality can track its progress.
With the support of Bank of America, Bacardi, Coca-Cola and Lightstream, our volunteer planting projects have transformed existing parks and school grounds as well as created a new park. We have brought the benefits of tree canopy to schools, including an autism academy. We have shaded bus stops, trails and sidewalks to encourage walking and biking.
During American Forests’ Miami Tree Week, we implemented three restoration projects, increased awareness of the value trees bring to a city, and brought the region’s urban forestry community together to address hurricane-related issues. Our partnership is building momentum for even more planting and maintenance efforts to help the region adapt to its uncertain future.