Detroit is partnering with American Forests and a number of other state and local conservation groups on an initiative to grow more trees in the city.
The $30 million program intends to plant 75,000 trees over the next five years.
Officials say the project makes use of American Forests’ tree equity score. The metric rates canopy cover in urban areas and explores how it overlaps with factors like income level and racial make-up.
“[Lack of canopy cover is] leading to much hotter days in the summer, much more air pollution and lost opportunities for wealth and well-being.” — Jad Daley, American Forests
Jad Daley is president and CEO of American Forests. He says while Detroit has an overall tree equity score of 80 out of a possible 100 points, some neighborhoods score lower than 50.
“Those are places where you have a really severe lack of tree canopy relative to the city as a whole,” says Daley. “And that’s leading to much hotter days in the summer, much more air pollution and lost opportunities for wealth and well-being.”
Daley says the goal of the project is to bring every part of Detroit up to a tree equity score of at least 80. He says that can be a step towards bridging income gaps in less affluent neighborhoods.
Lionel Bradford is president of The Greening of Detroit — a group which will help plant the trees. He says the program’s investment will also lead to job creation.
“For this partnership, we’re offering fresh strength by training individuals who have barriers to employment and finding good jobs for them in urban forestry, arbor culture and nursery care,” Bradford says.
Bradford announced his organization has already planted 200 trees as part of the initiative.