In-depth look at Cleveland’s urban forest by neighborhood
(CLEVELAND) October 13, 2020 – The Cleveland Tree Coalition has released a 5-year progress report for the citywide urban forest master plan, the Cleveland Tree Plan (2015). The progress report makes use of new information about tree canopy cover (the land area that is shaded by trees) that was published by the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission in late 2019, examining how Cleveland’s urban forest changed across neighborhoods during a six-year study period from 2011-2017. It quantifies how those changes have altered the benefits that Clevelanders receive from trees by neighborhood and provides new recommendations to help reverse the trend of canopy loss in Cleveland.
The progress report finds that, while momentum has built around the Cleveland Tree Plan in the first five years of its existence, Cleveland has continued to lose tree canopy at the rate that the Plan predicted in 2015, about 5 percent of its urban forest over the five-year study period. This loss has led to a 6 percent reduction in cumulative tree benefits—including air filtration, stormwater management, energy savings, and property values—worth approximately $3.1 million to residents, businesses, and institutions.
Loss of tree canopy has not been even across the city and can be more evident in low income neighborhoods. The report details per-person tree benefits by neighborhood, information that can help identify target areas for tree planting and preservation where they can have the most impact.
On its current trajectory, the city of Cleveland—including both publicly and privately owned land—will see a continuing loss of tree canopy down to 15 percent canopy cover by 2040. To achieve the tree canopy goal suggested by the Cleveland Tree Coalition and backed by Mayor Frank G. Jackson of 30 percent tree cover by 2040 would require a collective effort of planting more than 28,000 trees per year and better preserving the trees that we have.
As the fall tree planting season approaches, the Cleveland Tree Coalition invites residents, businesses, institutions, and local government to double down on tree initiatives, to work collectively toward reversing the trend of tree canopy loss across our city. In addition to the increased commitments by Urban Forestry in the city of Cleveland to maintain publicly owned trees, planting and maintaining trees on private land will be an essential part of achieving growth in our urban forest that will provide measurable benefits to our communities.
As part of its Tree Canopy Revitalization program the city of Cleveland is now accepting requests from property owners for a free tree installation during the spring and fall planting seasons.
Property owners can complete an online request form to have a tree planted on their tree lawn, in front of occupied structures or sidewalk cut-outs typically found in commercial areas in front of businesses. Approved sites are then added to a list for a tree to be planted during the next available planting season. All requests are handled on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Tree Canopy Revitalization Program was created in support of Mayor Frank G. Jackson’s tree planting initiative, in which he pledged up to $1 million a year to replenish the city’s tree canopy. This investment has already resulted in a significant number of trees being planted throughout the city. To request a tree or to learn more, click here.
Funding for the Cleveland Tree Plan: 2020 Tree Canopy Progress Report was provided by the Cuyahoga County Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program. The report was prepared by Davey Resource Group in collaboration with Holden Forests & Gardens, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, and the Cleveland Tree Coalition. The full report can be downloaded from the Cleveland Tree Coalition’s website, http://www.clevelandtrees.org/cleveland-tree-plan/cleveland-tree-plan-2020-tree-canopy-progress-report/
About the Cleveland Tree Coalition
The Cleveland Tree Coalition is a collaborative group of public, private and community stakeholders that have partnered with the city of Cleveland to rebuild our urban forest. The coalition is striving to create a healthy, vibrant, sustainable, and equitable urban forest by working collaboratively to implement the Cleveland Tree Plan. Together, we’re making Cleveland the Forest City once again. For more information, visit www.clevelandtrees.org.