Studies Show Need for NYC Urban Forest Growth
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
NEW YORK -- New research shows how expanding New York City's urban forest would benefit New Yorkers' lives in the long term.
According to The Nature Conservancy report, urban forests do more than enhance people's quality of life. They help cities retain storm water, provide habitat for animals, reduce summer temperatures and store greenhouse gases.
Emily Nobel Maxwell, New York Cities program director for The Nature Conservancy-New York and co-author of the report, explained historic zoning and housing policies have contributed to less tree canopy in many communities of color and lower-income neighborhoods, despite city efforts to plant more trees and keep them alive.
"The forest is still inequitably distributed, and there are some neighborhoods that have much less canopy," Nobel Maxwell pointed out. "And particularly in the face of climate change, that's a significant challenge."
The study highlights a need for more tree canopy due to threats from major storms and extreme heat, both made worse by climate change. As of 2017, New York City's overall tree canopy was about 22%. The Nature Conservancy report encouraged the city to reach a goal of 30% by 2035.
Nobel Maxwell said future plans for the urban forest must put neighborhoods first that are most at risk.
"As we continue to make investments in our urban forest, it's really important to prioritize both low-income communities and communities of color," Nobel Maxwell asserted. "And also, coastal communities are more subject to the impacts of climate change."
In a related report, The Nature Conservancy and the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance explored the need for more nature-based jobs in New York City.
Victoria Sanders, research analyst for the Alliance, sees greater investments in the field as a path to greater climate resiliency, through "green" infrastructure.
"So many of the jobs for the nature of New York City, are seasonal, low-paying, they don't have good and reliable job trajectories for growth," Sanders observed. "And so, it doesn't incentivize people to work in those areas."
According to the jobs report, fewer than 100 foresters are employed in New York City, with lower wages compared to the national median.
get more stories like this via email
College presidents testified before a congressional committee Tuesday on the rise of antisemitism on college campuses since the Oct. 7 Hamas-led …
There are some bright spots in beefing up local news coverage, but a new report says in North Dakota and elsewhere, there are still big concerns …
Health and Wellness
Holiday stress is a concern for most people, but when you mix in travel plans and chronic health issues, those worries might be elevated. A …
A new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finds the repayment process for federal student loans has been filled with errors…
More than 3,500 foster children are available for adoption in Ohio, and state agencies are connecting with local faith congregations to help recruit …
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife just announced a marine warden discovered an endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle dead, drowned …
Health and Wellness
The state's largest county has just opened the new CARE Court system, designed to get help for severely mentally ill people in Los Angeles. CARE …
A Knoxville-based environmental group is voicing health and safety concerns about the development of a landfill for radioactive waste from the Y12 Ura…