Pledge by American Forests
Tree Equity in America's CitiesTotal Trees Pledged: 1,200,000
Supporting actions: Sustainable Forestry, Nursery Development, Data and Technological Tools, Science and Technical Assistance, Tree Protection through Management, Workforce Development, Environmental Education, Conservation Finance,
American Forests has been a leader and innovator in urban forestry for more than a century of our 145-year history. From developing modern arboriculture standards during the industrial revolution to organizing the field in the 1970s to pioneering satellite image analyses in the 1990s, American Forests has always stepped up to address the most pressing urban forestry challenges of the day.
Tree Equity is a term we coined to frame our urban forestry work. Through our Tree Equity Score that will be calculated for every urbanized neighborhood nationwide, we seek to direct resources and best practices to the communities that socioeconomic and ecological data shows have the highest need and most potential benefits.
Our Tree Equity pledge to plant and protect 1.2 million trees emerges from our work in collaboration with city, state and nonprofit leaders nationwide. Through a proven partnership model, we are building innovative planning, policy, finance and implementation resources that proactively optimize urban forests nationwide for climate change and public health benefits.
This work includes planting trees where data says there will be the highest impact, developing urban tree nurseries, using innovative financing to protect mature urban natural areas and developing career pathways for underemployed residents.
Partners in achieving this goal potentially include the following:
- Arlington County, VA
- Baltimore Tree Trust
- Chicago Region Trees Initiative
- City Forest Credits
- City of Baltimore
- City of Boston
- Speak for the Trees Boston
- City of Detroit
- The Greening of Detroit
- State of Michigan DNR
- City of Phoenix
- Arizona Sustainability Alliance
- City of Houston
- Trees for Houston
- Texas A&M Forest Service
- Green Columbus
- Million Trees Miami
- The Nature Conservancy
- Treasure Valley Canopy Network
- Urban Drawdown
- State of Rhode Island
- Bank of America
- Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
- Erb Foundation
- Timberland and Footlocker
- Goldman Sachs
- JPB Foundation
- Seed Fund
- Summit Foundation
- Tepper Foundation
- US Forest Service
American Forests is working with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative to develop a first-of-its-kind certification for urban forests.
Our work in select cities, such as Columbus and Detroit, includes developing tree nurseries on underutilized urban lands as a means of providing affordable tree stock for citywide reforestation and career training.
American Forests is currently piloting in Rhode Island a new GIS-based Tree Equity Score analysis tool that helps optimize urban forests for climate and public health benefits down to the parcel scale and help improve a neighborhood's score.
We will host urban forestry learning labs that help city, state and nonprofit professionals incorporate these tools into their management strategies.
Our Roots of Rock initiative is propagating pest and disease resistant specimens, initially in Detroit nurseries. Our goal is to help rebuild the eastern US forest.
Our Career Pathways initiative is creating sector partnerships in metro areas nationwide to recruit, train, employ and retain underemployed people of color in the tree care industry, filling established demand.
We are also developing educational programming for high school students from predominantly communities off color to learn about and role play in real greening projects different careers and skillsets related to urban forestry, with guidance on college and workforce opportunities.
We are working collaboratively to develop different innovative finance mechanisms to attract diverse investment in urban forestry. For example, we are the primary national partners of City Forest Credits, a carbon+ crediting and certification program uniquely designed for the urban landscape.
These conditions are the fundamental principles of American Forests' urban forestry work.
We utilize or develop data- and stakeholder-driven analyses that incorporate species selection, climate projections, development density, socioeconomic factors and tree canopy data to ensure we are planting the right tree in the right place.
Our work focuses on building local capacity in cities within the municipal, nonprofit and for profit sectors that are embedded in a community. This includes local, state and federal policy actions to develop effective ordinances and investments. In addition, our work with City Forest Credits provides 25 years of maintenance funding for tree plantings and 40 years for forested natural area protection.
Lastly, we utilize community engagement best practices developed by experts, such as story and history gathering for site transformations within a neighborhood. We also seek to optimize planting and protection efforts by creating career opportunities for local residents.
582,266 MT CO2e