Cleveland, which was once called the Forest City, has seen a decrease in its urban forest over the past several decades. According to Sustainable Cleveland 2019, an estimated 97 acres of tree canopy are lost. At that rate, the canopy will drop to 14 percent by 2040.
To address this problem, the City of Cleveland’s Office of Sustainability, Western Reserve Land Conservancy, LAND Studio, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and The Holden Arboretum joined forces with the Davey Resource Group to create a new Cleveland Tree Plan, which recognizes the significance of trees in our communities.
According to the Cleveland Tree Plan’s 2015 report, “even at its low level, the current tree canopy provides Cleveland with more than $28 million in services each year.”
Planners were able to use the U.S. Forest Service’s i-Tree modeling and the EPA’s Environmental Benefits Mapping and Analysis program to determine that Cleveland’s tree canopy:
- Intercepts 1.8 billion gallons of rainwater every year (value: $11 million) and removes just under 830,000 lbs. of air pollution every year (value: $1.8 million).
- Saves residents and business owners $3.5 million in energy costs each year and reduces stress from high heat days, which have significant impacts on human health and energy needs.
- Removes 42,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year (value: $800,000). Additionally, across the lifetime of the canopy, Cleveland’s trees store another 1.3 million tons of carbon (value: $25 million).
- Improves public health by preventing approximately 1,200 incidents of problems including asthma, obesity, diabetes, and mental health (value: $6.9 million).
- Increases property values by an estimated $4.5 million. This, in turn, increases city revenues.
To capitalize on these benefits, Sandra Albro, a Holden Forests & Gardens researcher, co-chairs of the Cleveland Tree Coalition. This organization advocates for the planting of more than 50,000 trees in Cleveland to reverse the trend of canopy loss.
Holden Forests & Gardens also supports the city’s efforts by partnering with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to provide Sherwick Tree Steward Trainings. This teaches citizens how to plant maintain trees.
Together, we can re-grow the Forest City!