From STAFF REPORTS
Published: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 | 11:28 AM
Pasadena will be one of the five cities that American Forests, a national conversation organization, will conduct an urban forest assessment via a $250,000 grant it received from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, it was announced today.
The other cities are Asbury Park, N.J., Atlanta, Ga.; Detroit, Mich. and Nashville, Tenn. The assessments will take place over the next six months. Each project will be slightly different and tailored to the needs of the local community and urban forest, according to a news statement.
The urban forest assessments are a part of American Forests’ new program called “Community ReLeaf.”
It is estimated that urban trees in the lower 48 states remove approximately 784,000 tons of air pollution annually, with a value of $3.8 billion.
The assessments will give insight into the overall state of each city’s urban forest and the environmental services each provide, such as energy savings and and carbon storage, as well as water and air quality benefits, according to the news statement.
These assessments will create a credible research foundation for urban forest management and advocacy efforts by quantifying the benefits that each city’s trees provide, according to the statement.
In turn, the research will help encourage green infrastructure, inform public opinion and public policy regarding urban forests and allow city officials to make informed decisions on the most cost-effective solutions to improving the health, safety and well-being of the city’s residents.
The assessments will also help inform strategic tree planting and restoration activities to be conducted by American Forests, Bank of America Community Volunteers and local partners to enhance the benefits and lead to more sustainable communities this fall, according to the statement.
“We have a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, which helps us better support our customers, clients and the communities where we do business,” said Cathy Bessant, Bank of America’s Global Technology & Operations executive and chair of the company’s Environmental Council.
“Our partnership with American Forests will help community leaders understand and respond to impacts occurring to the biological infrastructure on which our cities depend,” Bessant said.
America is losing urban forest canopy at a rate of around four million trees a year. With urban forests declining, critical ecosystems that are vital to creating healthy and livable communities are being lost, making assessments and the development of restoration strategies for urban forests imperative, according to the news statement.