The city’s Parks and Recreation Department (NYC Parks) is marking this year’s Climate Week with a series of tree canopy announcements and is partnering with the Natural Areas Conservancy to continue to study the effects tree canopies have on urban areas.
NYC Parks announced Sept. 19 that the department has planted more trees in fiscal year 2022 (FY22) than in the previous five fiscal years. 13,020 trees have been planted in FY22, which is an 87% increase from FY21.
Heat impacts are one of the most pressing climate public issues facing the city and increasing the tree canopy is one recognized strategy for keeping urban areas cool during summer months, as tree cover offers shade and can reduce ambient temperatures in neighborhoods up to six degrees.
“Our trees are the lungs of our city, and today we are celebrating our expanding tree canopy and our role in mitigating excessive heat due to climate change through our urban forest,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue in an announcement on Monday. “We know that trees provide so many benefits to communities – they clean our air, cool our city, collect stormwater, and so much more – and they are truly essential infrastructure. On the heels of a milestone planting year, we are doubling-down on our commitment to expanding our city’s tree canopy equitably, and dedicated to further increasing our tree canopy coverage during this administration.”
NYC Parks is furthering its commitment to equitable planting, planting trees in areas that are impacted by climate change and increased temperatures the most with a $112 million allocation from the Adams’ administration.
“Expanding our tree canopy makes our city cooler, our air cleaner, and our streets more beautiful,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “As climate change advances, trees and our city’s green spaces are becoming even more critical infrastructure that will pay dividends for generations to come.”
Other experts weighed in on the planting milestone, applauding the Parks Department and Mayor Adams for the climate change efforts.
“Cooling our neighborhoods with trees is a vital step in protecting the health of New Yorkers as our climate changes and our City gets hotter,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “We know that greenery can cool a block by as much as 2 degrees, and even modest cooling can save lives. They also contribute to removing carbon from our atmosphere, which is driving our warming city and planet. We commend Mayor Adams and the Parks Department for prioritizing resiliency for communities facing the most heat-related illness and death.”
NYC is home to over seven million trees and residents can request free trees through 311.
New Yorkers can also care for their neighborhood trees by watering, mulching, weeding and planting flowers in tree beds. Record your tree care activities on the NYC Tree Map and more information can be found here.