The New York City Parks Department is doing its part to protect the Big Apple’s urban forest.
As of June 3, the Parks Department has planted 13,154 trees across the city in the fiscal year of 2023, marking the highest tree-planting total in the past six fiscal years and marks two consecutive fiscal years of tree-planting growth across the five boroughs. The department aims to plant a total of 14,900 trees by June 30.
“Since day one of my tenure as Parks Commissioner, I have made it our mission to continue our work of protecting and expanding the city’s urban forest, and today we are celebrating yet another milestone in our tree planting efforts,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “Thanks to the ongoing support from the Adams Administration, our tree planting program, which strategically targets heat-vulnerable neighborhoods, is the most robust it has been in six years, and we will continue to focus our efforts on greening the city and planting trees where they’re needed most.”
The Parks Department is expanding on its commitment to recruiting and onboarding new contractors, especially minority and women-owned business enterprises. Since 2021, the Parks Department has brought in seven new minority and women-owned contractors who have helped increase the pool of bidders for tree planting contracts to plant more trees across the city, with nearly 4,400 trees being planted under their contracts.
Additionally, the Parks Department has continued to focus its tree plantings in areas of the city that are heat-vulnerable neighborhoods. Guided by the Heat Vulnerability Index (HVI), more than 5,700 of the new plantings in FY23 were planted in HVI neighborhoods. Some of HVI neighborhoods include:
- Bronx: Williamsbridge, Woodlawn, Eastchester, Edenwald, Soundview, Morris Park, Norwood
- Brooklyn: East Flatbush, Bushwick, Crown Heights, Flatlands, Sunset Park, Canarsie, Cypress Hills, Fort Greene, Stuyvesant Heights
- Manhattan: Central Harlem, East Harlem, Lower East Side, Hamilton Heights, Manhattanville
- Queens: Hunters Point, Sunnyside, Long Island City, Elmhurst, Laurelton, South Ozone Park, St. Albans, Flushing, Woodside
The Parks Department expects to plant trees in every viable place in HVI-4 and HVI-5 neighborhoods by 2026, thanks to $136 million in funding allocated by the mayor’s office for the program.
“This is a great step forward for expanding the urban tree canopy and advancing climate justice in communities with high heat vulnerability,” said Victoria Cerullo, Acting Executive Director, Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice. “These trees will improve air quality, improve our city’s parks and open spaces, and cool neighborhoods vulnerable to the impacts of extreme heat.”
The Parks Department continues to actively care for more than 800,000 mapped trees, which are spread across New York City streets and parks, and launched the NYC Tree Map in December 2022.