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. That’s why we are working with our Detroit partners to begin using Tree Equity Score for tree plantings. 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.