Baltimore has 2.8 million trees and is constantly finding innovative ways to increase its tree canopy cover and to reuse wood from trees that had to be removed. Baltimore is excited to be part of Cities4Forests in order to share its experiences and to help spread the work the city does with its residents and other cities across the world.
Baltimore has approximately 100,000 street trees or one street tree for every six residents. Most of the trees are located in residential neighborhoods and over half of those were in rowhouse communities. The street tree population includes 95 different tree species.
The three most dominant species are silver maple (12 percent), linden (10) and Norway maple (9). Generally, maples, which also include sugar and red maples, are overrepresented in the street tree population.
Over half of the environmental values are provided by seven species (based on tree structure and abundance): red maple, linden, Norway maple, London plane, green ash, sugar maple, and silver maple.
TreeBaltimore, a mayoral initiative (led by the Baltimore City of Recreation and Parks in partnership with Blue Water Baltimore, the Parks & People Foundation, Baltimore Tree Trust and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay), aims to increase the urban tree canopy from 27.4% to 40%.
Current value of services provided by Baltimore’s trees:
- $3.3 million a year in energy savings by shading buildings from the summer sun and blocking winter winds.
- $10.7 million a year storing 527 tons of carbon. Carbon dioxide greatly increases to the greenhouse effect.
- $3.8 million a year by removing 700 metric tons of air pollution (carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, etc.)
- $1.6 million a year by removing 244 metric tons of ozone. Ground level ozone is the main ingredient in smog and a leading contributing factor of asthma.
Over the life of a single tree, it is not unreasonable to conclude that $57,000 in economic and environmental benefits is provided.
When people think about forests, cities typically are not the first thing to come to mind, and the same could be said in reverse. Changing mentalities is at the heart of what the urban forestry community is doing within Baltimore. Helping connect communities to the endless benefits of trees: beautifying neighborhoods, decreasing crime, improving health of our citizens, and cleaning the air and waters of our Chesapeake Bay!
Research by the U.S. Forest Service and others is demonstrating a positive correlation between trees and public safety (more trees equal less violent crime and crimes against property), regardless of socio-economic factors. Urban forests have positive impacts on human health (reduced asthma and other respiratory problems) and economic development (increased property values and business performance), while exposure to nature can relieve ADHD symptoms and improve academic performance. Trees improve water quality and reduce flooding by acting as purifiers and sponges during and after rainfall, filtering fertilizers, pesticides, and pollution that washes off roads and other impervious surfaces.
Baltimore’s Urban Wood Re-utilization Program is working toward being a zero waste facility that is sustainable and influential in the wood products market. The Proactive Pruning Program aims to get all street trees in Baltimore on a decent pruning rotation. The Tree Inventory is targeting all potential locations for trees and tree pit locations over the next 10-15 years. The TreeBaltimore Program is increasing engagement through the TreeKeeper’s training program and the amount of tree giveaways to citizens. Learn more also about the Baltimore Wood Project.