American cities contain about 3.8 billion trees with a structural asset value of about $2.4 trillion. Our nation’s urban forests sequester 22.8 million tC/year valued at about $460 million—about the equivalent of emissions from 20 million cars.
That’s just the beginning of the good things city trees do. Washington D.C.’s trees are estimated to save the city $4.7 billion in stormwater construction costs every 20 years. The city of Frederick, Maryland saves about $1 million a year because of the cooling benefits of trees.
Many states will be doubling their urban land area between now and 2050, when urban land area is estimated to cover 238 million sq. mi. (152.3 million acres), up from an estimated 108 sq. mi. (69.1 million acres) in 2010.
Ensuring that the nation’s urban forests keep delivering benefits is partially the job of the established by the 1990 Farm Bill to develop a common vision for the foundation of urban forestry policy. NUCFAC recently released their Ten-Year Urban Forestry Action Plan: 2016-2026. Plan goals include:
- Integrate urban and community forestry into all scales of planning;
- Promote the role of urban and community forestry in human health and wellness;
- Cultivate diversity, equity and leadership within the urban forestry community;
- Strengthen urban and community forest health and biodiversity for long-term resilience;
- Improve urban and community forest management, maintenance and stewardship;
- Diversify, leverage and increase funding for urban and community forestry; and
- Increase public awareness and environmental education to promote stewardship.
The Ten-Year Assessment of Programs, Activities, Tools and Resources is a comprehensive list of urban forestry programs and ecosystems services resources nationwide.
For readers putting together white papers or making grant applications, the action plan contains citable recommendations that have been developed through a broad stakeholder process.