Pledge by Chicago Region Trees Initiative
Improving the Health of the Urban Forest in the Chicago RegionIncreasing Chicago's Tree Canopy by 4% by 2050
Supporting actions: Sustainable Forestry, Data and Technological Tools, Science and Technical Assistance, Tree Protection through Management, Workforce Development, Environmental Education, Conservation Finance,
The Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI) is committed as a supporter of 1t.org to implement strategies to conserve, restore, and grow tree canopy to reduce climate change and improve quality of life. CRTI is a coalition of more than 200 organizations, founded by The Morton Arboretum, with the mission to ensure that the Chicago region’s trees are healthier, more abundant, more diverse, and more equitably distributed to provide needed benefits to all people and communities. CRTI is implementing a Master Plan with four overarching goals that align with the Trillion Trees: inspire people to value trees, increase the region’s tree canopy, reduce threats to trees and enhance oak ecosystems.
CRTI is working to conserve tree canopy across the urban to rural landscape. One of CRTI’s goals focuses on reducing the loss of oak ecosystems and improving their health. We work with landowners to help them understand their role in connecting and conserving these ecosystems, help them find funding to implement best management practices, and provide a network of landowners to build cohesion in support of a common goal: regeneration of oaks and companion species. CRTI works actively with decision-makers to improve policies that protect and preserve trees on public and private land. These policies include ordinances and management plans that guide decision- makers to make sound decisions regarding urban and rural trees. We provide direct assistance and workshops hosted by partners, such as planning agencies, forest preserves and conservation districts, mayors and managers associations, the department of natural resources, and other partner organizations.
CRTI is working to restore the Chicago region’s canopy. The Chicago region includes seven counties, 284 municipalities, 174 park districts, seven forest preserves/conservation districts, and a population of 8.4 million people. The Chicago metro area has an average canopy cover of 18% - far below the national average for a metropolitan area. CRTI’s goal is to increase tree canopy by 4% by 2050. Since 2010, the region has lost 13 million ash trees due to the emerald ash borer, and we are working with landowners, managers, and volunteers to expand species diversity. We are also working with nurseries to expand production to replace the trees that were lost, and to prevent another catastrophic loss We are working with scientists to better understand the best practices for improving tree health through proper planting and care, and the best methods to improve regeneration of oak ecosystems in our natural areas and in corridors, to reduce fragmentation and improve connectivity.
CRTI is working to grow the Chicago region’s canopy. To achieve a 4% increase in canopy by 2050, we need everyone to be part of the solution. We have developed a digital campaign to engage the general public and non-traditional partners so they can see themselves as part of the solution. We want trees to be healthy and mature so they can provide the most and best possible benefits. We are sharing resources, acquiring funding, and building capacity in under-resourced, vulnerable communities because we recognize this is where trees can have the greatest impact.
The Chicago Region Trees Initiative is actively working to conserve, restore, and grow the tree canopy in the Chicago region and is pleased to partner with 1t.org.
We have more than 200 partners across the Chicago region and are working with 284 municipalities, 174 park districts and 7 counties.
The Chicago Region Trees Initiative has established an extensive Master Plan that outlines goals and strategies to improve the health of the forest in the Chicago region which encompasses:
• sustainable forestry practices to improve urban forest health
• gathering and sharing of significant data and technology tools to assist landowners, managers and volunteers
• utilizing and sharing the latest scientific advances and providing technical assistance
• assisting in the development of policies that protect the urban forest
• facilitating and supporting workforce development
• providing significant environmental education and focus on areas within our region that struggle with environmental equity
With respect to nursery development, we are fostering an active and strong partnership with the nursery industry to improve species and distribution of trees across our region. We see them as a critical partner in our success.
The CRTI has four key goals: inspire people to value trees, improve the region's tree canopy, reduce threats to trees and enhance oak ecosystems. The work of CRTI is based on data and science to inform the best practices, policies and outreach to achieve an equitably distributed, healthy forest. The broad base of our partnerships allows us access the best expertise and skills to help us achieve our goals and this pledge.