In December, a group of scientists released a report that found that the country was losing trees at an unsustainable rate, and could be doing more to help them flourish.
According to the report, it would cost the U.S. government about $4.5 billion a year, or $36 million every day, to plant more trees. The number comes from a walk through a simulation model, developed by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, called TruClimate. By 2050, that cost would balloon to $19 billion — and the canopy cover would have dropped drastically.
The good news is that there are actually solutions: In the city of Lubbock, Texas, for example, it costs $22 per tree to install them, but by planting 1 million trees citywide, the cost to municipal governments would drop to just $2.5 million. It’s a figure that’s been able to offset the effects of climate change and other environmental factors there, thanks to the tree-planting initiative that became a focus of Mayor Robb Neiman in the early 2000s.
New York City has also made some progress when it comes to efforts to plant trees, going from 14.5 million trees in 1990 to 20.6 million by 2018. Still, as The Washington Post noted, cutting city trees in half has been attributed to a spike in air quality. In recent years, trees have also become the target of controversies over their value — a history that includes political attacks on controversial groups like tree huggers.
Read the full report here.
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