Earlier this year, the City of Boston launched its first ever Urban Forest Plan with the hope it will help the city prioritize, preserve, and grow the tree canopy throughout Boston for decades to come.
“The Boston Urban Forest Plan is a year-long effort made up of several phases,” said the Parks Department in a statement on the program. “The first part of our work was the urban forest street tree inventory — an assessment of the existing conditions of the public street trees throughout Boston.”
The data collected during this tree inventory provides an important snapshot in time of the condition of Boston’s street trees.
“Now that the inventory is complete, we’ll be diving into the data to see what it tells us about this piece of the urban forest,” the statement continued.
According to the report the top 10 most-common trees in the Back Bay include honeylocust at 34.8%, Callery pear at 16.7%, littleleaf linden at 15.4%, Norway maple at 6.5%, ginkgo at 6.3%, red maple at 5.9%, Japanese zelkova at 4.0%, American elm at 3.8%, accolade elm at 3.6%, and the pin oak at 2.9%.
In October 2020 the Boston Parks and Recreation Department announced the city would partner with local groups in Back Bay and across the city to help create an equitable vision for the protection and expansion of the City’s tree canopy.
Street trees naturally absorb pollution and reduce urban noise by 6 to 15 decibels.
Alongside the City, Back Baypartners and other stakeholders will apply an environmental justice lens throughout the entire process of creating a 20 year “Urban Forest Plan” in Boston.
Understanding where canopy loss is happening is the first step in addressing these issues through policy, including guidelines for tree canopy protection on public, private, and institutional property.
In addition to the $500,000 budgeted for the Urban Forest Plan, historic investments in public spaces this year will also support the hiring of a new arborist and the planting of an additional 1,000 trees, doubling the yearly total to 2,000 trees planted per year.