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Terra Virsilas
citylogo2010 - Charles Murphy

Baltimore has 2.8 million trees and is constantly finding innovative ways to increase its tree cover and to reuse wood from trees that needed to be removed. Baltimore is excited to be part of Cities4Forests in order to share its experiences and to help share this work with its residents and with other cities across the world.


Baltimore has approximately 100,000 street trees: 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. Baltimore’s street trees include 95 different tree species. 

The three most dominant species are silver maple (12%), linden (10%), and Norway maple (9%), though you can also find red maple, London plane, green ash, and sugar maple, amongst others. 

TreeBaltimore is a mayoral initiative led by the Baltimore City of Recreation and Parks in partnership with Blue Water Baltimore, Parks & People Foundation, Baltimore Tree Trust, and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. The initiative aims to increase the urban tree canopy from 27.4% to 40%.

Below is the 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.
  • $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 cause of asthma.

It is estimated that a single tree can provide $57,000 in economic and environmental benefits over its lifetime.

When people think about forests, cities typically are not the first thing to come to mind. Changing mentalities is at the heart of what the urban forestry community is doing in Baltimore. They also work to connect communities to the numerous benefits of trees: beautifying neighborhoods, decreasing crime, improving the health of our citizens, and cleansing the air and water of the 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 (e.g. reduced asthma and other respiratory problems) and on economic development (increased property values and business performance), while exposure to nature can also relieve ADHD symptoms and improve academic performance. Trees improve water quality and reduce flooding by acting as purifiers and sponges during and after rainfall.

TreeBaltimore’s Proactive Pruning Program aims to get all street trees in Baltimore on a decent pruning rotation. Meanwhile, its 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 tree giveaways to citizens. Lastly, the Baltimore Wood Project is building a network to reclaim wood, reclaim lives, and reclaim neighborhoods in urban and rural areas by salvaging wood from building deconstruction and urban tree care operations and taking this out of the city’s waste stream.