URBAN FORESTS: Hot Paris vs. Cool Pittsburgh

A Reuters story by Manuel Ausloos yesterday, Heatwave in Paris exposes city’s lack of trees, caught my attention since it mentioned increasing heat from climate change along with the importance of city trees.

As a third heatwave baked France this week, the heat radiating off the asphalt outside the Garnier Opera house in Paris hit 56 degrees Celsius (132 degrees Fahrenheit) on urban planning expert Tangui Le Dantec’s thermometer. Shade was non-existent with barely a tree in sight. Just a minute’s walk away, in the shade along the tree-lined Boulevard des Italiens, Le Dantec’s thermometer gave a reading of 28C (82F).

by Manuel Ausloos, Heatwave in Paris exposes city’s lack of trees
Fortunately, Pittsburgh has been focused on its urban forest right along side professional sports!

The non-profit TREE PITTSBURGH was established in 2006 with this Mission Statement: “Tree Pittsburgh is an environmental non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing community vitality by restoring and protecting the urban forest through tree planting and care, education, advocacy, and land conservation. Tree Pittsburgh is a registered 501( c )3.”

Location on Google Maps

Growing out of citizen concern for the health and wellbeing of the City’s urban forest, members of the Pittsburgh Shade Tree Commission organized Tree Pittsburgh, formerly Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest, in 2006 to carry out fundraising, education, and stewardship activities aimed at restoring and protecting Pittsburgh’s trees.

Key Milestones in our history:
1995 — Carnegie Mellon report, Pittsburgh’s Urban Forest: Planting for the Future, is published, outlining the declining state of the urban forest and need for action
1998 — Pittsburgh Shade Tree Commission (PTSC) re-established
2005 — PTSC commissions City of Pittsburgh Street Tree Inventory and Management Plan
2005 — PTSC launches early stages of the Tree Tender program
2006 — PTSC establishes Tree Pittsburgh
2007 — Tree Pittsburgh publishes an iTree Streets report based on 2005 Street Tree Inventory, quantifying the benefits that trees provide and establishing a cost benefit analysis for its care
2007 — Tree Pittsburgh takes over Tree Tender program
2008 — TreeVitalize Pittsburgh is launched at the Western PA Conservancy in partnership with Tree Pittsburgh, City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and PA DCNR
2010 — Urban Tree Canopy Analysis completed for Allegheny County
2010 — Tree Pittsburgh establishes the Heritage Nursery, a nursery where all trees are grown from locally collected seed
2011 — Tree Pittsburgh leads the creation of the City of Pittsburgh Urban Forest Master Plan, a 20-year road map aimed at protecting and restoring the City’s tree canopy
2015 — Western PA Conservancy and PTSC updated the City’s street tree inventory and management plan
2017 — Tree Pittsburgh commissions a new tree canopy analysis 2006–2016 which shows a loss of 10,000 acres of tree canopy across Allegheny County
2018 — Tree Pittsburgh breaks ground on its new campus on the Allegheny River in Lawrenceville that includes the Heritage Tree Nursery, offices, workshops, education center, and outdoor classroom

Looking further, the City of Pittsburgh has its PITTSBURGH URBAN FOREST webpage:
Pittsburgh Urban Forest

The Forestry Division has been implementing a master plan (78-page PDF) for the care of City trees since late 2012. The plan itself was crafted by the Davey Resource Group (DRG) from Kent, Ohio. The project is to establish a road map for the effective management of the urban forest in Pittsburgh.

A city like Pittsburgh with over 900 miles of streets ‘should’ have 60,000 street trees, and ‘could’ have up to 90,000 street trees. Trees are necessary to improve air quality, reduce stormwater(see stormwater tab at the top) runoff, reduce energy costs, and create pride in each neighborhood. However, Pittsburgh’s inventory showed that we only had 31,524 street trees as of August 2005. At the same time, we became aware that 10% of this number of trees required removal over the next four years.

In 2015 a new street inventory was conducted.

A state-funded program called TreeVitalize has been planting since 2005. This partnership with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Tree Pittsburgh and Allegheny County has resulted in over 20,000 trees to date being planted in various neighborhoods, and county parks.

The public is invited to enter the City’s inventory website, TreeKeeper Database, to check on the street trees in your neighborhood. The inventory is a snapshot of the urban forest the day you look at it, but remember that since trees are living organisms there are constant changes to the inventory based upon new pruning, removal, and planting data.

MORE: Tree information

Tree FAQ

Photos of Trees used in Landscaping

MORE: Renewable Energy News

Pennsylvania Environmental News Headlines

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