"Cleveland’s Tree Canopy Is in Trouble"

"New efforts are afoot to bring more trees back to Forest City to address both climate resilience and environmental justice."

"Cleveland, Ohio has long been called the Forest City, although sources differ on whom to credit for the moniker. Back in 1831, French traveler Alexis de Tocqueville described Lake Erie’s shores as a “primeval forest.” And in the early 1850s, Mayor William Case, a businessman and horticulturist, actively encouraged citizens to plant trees.

Regardless of the nickname’s source, it’s clear that Cleveland’s tree canopy has been shrinking for decades. Now, local government authorities and private groups are working to stop the decline and restore tree cover to boost climate resilience and promote equity.

“Our canopy as a whole is definitely dwindling,” said Jennifer Kipp, Cleveland’s manager of urban forestry. On average, the city’s tree canopy is 18 percent of its land area, down from 21 percent in 2000. And roughly 75 acres are lost each year, according to a 2020 progress report on the Cleveland Tree Plan. But the amount of tree canopy varies, with some neighborhoods’ percentages in the single digits or low teens and others in the mid-20s up to 30 percent."

Kathiann M. Kowalski reports for Inside Climate News June 3, 2023.

Source: Inside Climate News, 06/07/2023