Cleveland to plant 320,000 new trees over the next two decades

Posted at 3:00 PM, Apr 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-01 07:22:06-04

This Arbor Day, the city of Cleveland and the Cleveland Tree Coalition, a group of 30 different organizations, are committed to planting 320,000 trees in this city, over the next 17 years.

“They help clean the air, they clean the water, they provide habitat for animals that we like to watch and overall, they just improve our health,” said Sandra Albro, Co-Chair of the Cleveland Tree Coalition.

That’s why this Arbor Day, Cleveland has committed to restoring its urban canopy.

“We’re setting a canopy goal of 30 percent so we’d like to get our canopy from 19 to 30 percent by 2040,” said Albro.

That’s 320,000 trees over 17 years, $500 per tree to see it through the first two years of its life, totaling around $160 million.

“It’s a serious investment and part of the plan for the coalition is to determine where that money is going to come from and how we’re going to raise that money,” said Albro.

“If we want to compete economically with nearby cities like Pittsburgh and Cincinnati and Columbus and Detroit, we really need to kind of up the tree game,” said Ziegler.

Cleveland has a 19 percent tree canopy. Compare that to Pittsburgh, with a 42 percent canopy, Cincinnati with a 38 percent, or Louisville with a 37 percent.

“That means across Cleveland our most underserved residents are not receiving the benefits of trees,” said Albro.

It’s even worse in Downtown Cleveland where the canopy is just 4 percent canopy. A lack of trees means a lack of air and water quality and a decrease in property value.

According to the Cleveland Tree Coalition, each year, Cleveland’s tree canopy accounts for 1,200 fewer incidents of adverse health effects like respiratory issues. Trees save residents and businesses $3.5 million in energy costs, and they intercept 1.8 billion gallons of rainwater every year, a service valued at just under $11 million.

The Cleveland Tree Coalition will be spearheading fundraising efforts to hit their lofty goal of planting nearly 20,000 trees a year for the next 17 years.

They’ll be planted in both private and public spaces throughout the city.