Cleveland has a lot of nicknames old and new — the plum, the sixth city — but one of our favorites is the Forest City
. It might sound like an irrelevant or bygone moniker these days but a new planning commission project is hoping to make it true again.
The Cleveland Tree Plan is pretty straightforward: Cleveland doesn't have enough trees anymore, so let's plant a whole bunch of them. The 25-year plan calls for increasing Cleveland's tree coverage by 40 percent by 2040, which equates to about 691,000 trees. That means at least 35,000 trees need to be planted each year. Right now, Cleveland is so vegetation deprived that the asphalt can be seen from outer space.
Tree coverage in Cleveland currently stands at 19 percent, which is lower than Pittsburgh (42 percent), Cincinnatti (38 percent), New York City (24 percent) and even Detroit (23 percent). At Cleveland's current rate of tree loss, without immediate intervention the city will have 14 percent tree coverage by 2040. The prime culprit for Cleveland's disappearing trees is largely manmade—lack of maintenance and pruning—and parasites like the emerald ash borer.
The benefits of having a tree canopy go beyond looks. If the plan is successful it will provide more than $20 million in saved costs.
- Soaking up 1.8 billion gallons of rainwater. Value: $11 million.
- Absorbing 415 tons of air pollution. Value: $1.8 million.
- Saving energy by providing shade. Value: $3.5 million.
- Increasing property values. Value: $4.5 million.
(Hat Tip cleveland.com