Cities Push For More Urban Trees:

In the city of Bozeman in Montana, United States, the city government has offered its residents trees at a reduced cost to encourage them to plant trees along city streets. This is part of the Cost Share Tree Program that’s been running since 1993.

According to a report by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the city will be offering 175 trees this year, up by 50 trees from last year. Municipal arborist Jennifer Roth said it’s a way to generate the city’s urban forest. Interested residents have to apply through the city’s website. The program requires that the tree must be planted on city property and must be properly irrigated.

In Vancouver, Canada, environmental program TreeKeepers is offering a variety of trees for a discounted price of $10 each. According to the Vancouver Sun, although the city planted around 10,000 trees last year the effort is still not enough.

David Tracey from TreeKeepers said that the city is actually losing canopy because a lot of trees are disappearing from private lands. Residents who want to support the city’s effort can get their discounted trees through the TreeKeepers website.

As part of Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, the city plans to add 150,000 new trees by 2020. Tracey is confident they will be able to create “the biggest urban orchard in North America”. TreeKeepers are also sharing their expertise to help ensure people understand how to care for their new trees. Aside from residents, they are also targeting schools and giving away $500 to the school whose students plant the most trees.

However, these efforts are not reflected in other cities. According to Green Fudge, the streets of Malta have been slowly stripped of trees over the years in favour of monuments. Some of the trees were removed when the streets were repaved, even trees that are 100 years old.

“With the destruction of these trees one can say that by issuing such permits, the Planning Authority is putting the health of the citizens of Malta at stake. This argument is strengthened by the fact that Malta has one of the highest rates of asthma,” the report said.

Organisations petitioned the government last year to stop destroying urban trees and old gardens, however nothing has happened to change the situation.

The same thing is also happening in Australia according to a report from the University of Melbourne. Government agencies are apparently still “the major clearers of trees, forests and ecosystems”.

“In most states, approaches to road side vegetation at a time of climate change are inappropriate. Roadside vegetation is still being cleared right across the country, despite the fact that it sequesters massive amounts of carbon that could be used to partially offset the carbon produced by the vehicles that use the roads.”

The report said “urban trees and landscapes are worth much more than they cost and they are the keys to urban sustainability”.