American Forests recently published “Tree Equity Scores” for neighborhoods across the country to highlight the need for increased tree canopy in urban areas. The study shows that many urban and suburban Maryland communities fall well short of the standard for “Tree Equity.”
According to its website, American Forests calculates scores based on how much tree canopy and surface temperature align with income, employment, race, age and health factors. Each score indicates whether there are enough trees in specific neighborhoods or municipalities for everyone to experience the health, economic and climate benefits that trees provide.
A score of 100 is considered Tree Equity. The following is a sample of how urban and suburban areas around Maryland scored:
- Baltimore City – 84
- Annapolis – 86
- Salisbury – 75
- Hagerstown – 71
Maryland should see progress in addressing the shortcomings identified by the report over the next decade. This past Session the Maryland General Assembly passed the Tree Solutions Now Act of 2021, which included a number of measures improve tree coverage, especially in disadvantaged areas. The legislation established that it is the policy of the State to support and encourage public and private tree-planting efforts, with a goal of planting and helping to maintain 5,000,000 native trees by the end of 2031.
Read the full press release on this issue at American Forests.