Creating Tree Equity will contribute to Detroit’s revitalization in strategic ways, a fact American Forests recognized in 2016 when we helped launch the Detroit Reforestation Initiative in partnership with the City of Detroit and The Greening of Detroit. The initiative has helped to attract more than $1 million to complete an urban tree canopy assessment using LiDAR satellite imagery, create two tree nurseries, improve policies governing urban forestry, expand community engagement and conduct planting projects. Achieving Tree Equity in Detroit will contribute to Mayor Duggan’s vision for vibrant neighborhoods and parks while simultaneously improving public health and environmental conditions. Growing, planting and maintaining more trees will support local business and employment opportunities. Citywide Tree Equity will help Detroit model what it means to be a vibrant 21st-century city in the same way its culture of innovation helped define the Motor City in the 20th century.
Creating Tree Equity in Detroit will create job opportunities (more than 9,000 jobs would be supported), another priority for the city. The Greening of Detroit, the leading local nonprofit urban forestry job training program in the country, helps Detroit residents facing barriers to employment secure good-paying jobs. We are helping to grow their capacity to enroll more people into their program to grow the local workforce needed to achieve Tree Equity.
In 2022, American Forests, the City of Detroit, DTE Energy, Detroit Future City, The Greening of Detroit and others launched the Detroit Tree Equity Partnership to plant more than 75,000 trees, employ over 300 Detroit residents in tree care and maintenance jobs, and invest $30 million in Detroit neighborhoods during the five-year pilot phase of the project. The effort will deliver the significant health, economic and environmental benefits of a robust tree canopy across Detroit and will make the city’s neighborhoods more beautiful places to call home. This partnership accelerates previous tree planting efforts in Detroit focused on neighborhoods with the most canopy need as determined by American Forests’ Tree Equity Score tool, while training and employing local residents in the planting and maintenance of these trees.