New York City Greener Than You'd Think

Japanese Flowering Cherry tree at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Photo credit: MacRonin47

A tree grows in Brooklyn—and more than a half a million more on the streets of New York City; that's 20 percent more trees than there were a decade ago.

The 2005-2006 tree census was the work of around 1,000 volunteers who spent two summers walking around Gotham counting trees. Adrian Benepe, the city's Parks Commissioner called the recently analyzed results of the census—which found about 100,000 more trees shading city pavements than there were a decade earlier—"hopeful," especially when each tree translates into money in the bank.

For every dollar invested in planting a tree, there's more than a $5 return, Benepe said, citing an an analysis by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service.A tree equals energy savings from natural air cooling and an insulation effect. Trees also remove carbon dioxide, improve air quality, manage storm waters (by absorbing moisture), and increase property value.

The next step: To plant another 1 million city trees in the next decade. "If you look at aerial photos, New York looks a lot greener than you would imagine," the commissioner said in an interview with The Associated Press. "The stereotype of a New York street is a Manhattan street, whereas in fact the vast majority of New York is heavily treed, with maple, oak and sycamore trees in front of single-family homes."

With all the trees on public and private properties, including parks, down for the count, New York City has an estimated 5.2 million trees, or 24 percent canopy cover. This compares with Chicago's 11 percent and Atlanta's 27 percent, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Planting each tree will cost the city an average of $1,250; $250 million in city money has already been allocated toward Mayor Michael Bloomberg's long-term goal to have 1 million new trees planted by 2017. ::AP

See also: ::Thirsty Trees Drink Carbon Dioxide Instead, ::Why Offset With Trees When Fossil Fuels Are To Blame?, and ::Kids "Think Trees"

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