PBS NewsHour Comes to Cleveland to Ask: Can Urban Reforestation Help Lower Rising Temperatures? (Video)


Cleveland's reforestation efforts have been slow - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Cleveland's reforestation efforts have been slow

Cleveland, once known unironically as the Forest City, loses about 100 acres of tree cover ever single year, even as it pursues its goal of increasing the city's tree canopy to 30% by 2040.

Progress on that front has, for years, stalled, and in fact gone backward. A progress report on the Cleveland Tree Plan, released last October, found that between 2011 and 2017 the city lost another 5% of tree cover. If that trend continues, the city's tree canopy will be 14.8% by 2040, a far cry from the modest 30% goal.

With the hottest summer on record in more than 100 years just ending, PBS NewsHour came to Cleveland to report on the city's efforts and what other cities like it are doing to reforest their lands, which studies have shown can cool air by as much as 10 degrees.

Trees were a big plank in Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish's second term, and on that front, 4,000 will be planted with a new round of grants. While planting started slow, it will pick up. The reason for the delay: In order for healthy and appropriate reforestation to occur, the Cleveland neighborhoods and suburbs applying for grant funds first had to inventory their existing tree stock and create long-term strategic plans.

In the city proper, residents can request new trees for their lawn, but as public records show, there are wide disparities and relatively low numbers in recent years.

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