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City's Urban Forestry Efforts are Making Cambridge a Greener and more Resilient Community

Monday, September 25, 2023
" The City has significantly increased the number of trees it plants annually. The City collects and recycles more than 9,000 tons of materials annually. By stopping food waste from going to a landfill, we prevent greenhouse gas emissions. "

In January 2023, the City of Cambridge released the 2020 Canopy Assessment completed by the University of Vermont, which shows that the implementation of the Urban Forestry Master Plan is improving our tree canopy. Building canopy is a slow and steady race, but we are seeing substantive progress. The investments in tree plantings and maintenance combined with tree preservation initiatives are reversing the loss of tree canopy. In 2022, the City planted 1,385 trees (837 street trees and 550 open space trees). 

Since being completed in 2020, the Urban Forestry Master Plan has led the efforts of the Urban Forestry Division and staff across the City. The Plan includes a 9-Step Action Plan with key strategies for increasing our canopy by curbing the loss of existing trees and growing canopy. The strategies include implementing a soil management plan, increasing the number of trees planted annually, implementing the Tree Protection Ordinance, and making more space for trees. The City has invested in the Urban Forestry Division to support the work of implementing the plan. This has allowed the City to significantly increase the number of trees planted annually, with an eye to the 2025 goal of planting 1,250 trees (1,000 street trees and 250 open space trees). 

 All of Cambridge’s neighborhoods saw net gains in tree canopy between 2018 and 2020. The City is committed to continuing building on the efforts to increase canopy and implementing the Action Plan of the Urban Forest Master Plan. In 2025, the City will update the Healthy Forest – Healthy City Report and evaluate progress towards neighborhood canopy goals for both privately owned trees and City trees. 

2025 goal: Plant 1,000 street trees 

In 2022, the City planted 837 street trees

In 2021 and 2022, the City planted two Miyawaki Forests – one in Danhey Park and another in Greene-Rose Heritage Park. A Miyawaki Forest is uniquely dense multilayer forest coined by the late Akira Miyawaki and boost the biodiversity of the area and nurture pollinators, supporting and restoring ecosystems. 

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