Trees are important for cities. Environmentally-speaking, trees provide important environmental inputs and outputs. Aesthetically-speaking, trees can provide a sense of beauty to a city. Planners and landscape architects have long-recognized the importance of trees and other plants in urban design.Tampa, Florida has a long-established grassroots organization that has helped bring trees to the city. The Tampa Bay Reforestation and Environmental Effort (commonly called T.R.E.E.) is a non-profit organization that organizes people to help with tree-planting projects around the Bay Area. The volunteers raise and plant native trees, and the organization seeks grants and other opportunities to raise money for their tree planting efforts. Esurance, the insurance company, has become the largest sponsor of T.R.E.E., allowing the organization to increase its tree-planting efforts. The Home Depot and the NFL have also been major contributors to T.R.E.E.’s efforts. T.R.E.E. has also branched out to include flowers in their beautification projects.
The CSX Corporation, a railroad transportation company, has pushed for tree planting and beautification efforts in Tampa through their Central Florida ‘Trees for Tracks’ effort. The company, in conjunction with City Year and various landscape organizations, planted numerous guava, orange, plum, and jacaranda trees along the CSX tracks located in the Channelside district. The University of South Florida is also investing in tree planting efforts as a part of their sustainability initiatives (click here for more information). Five hundred live oaks have been donated to the school, and the school is using the trees to provide a canopy for the campus, which is extremely useful in the hot, sunny, humid Tampa summers.
The City of Tampa has long-recognized that the city can, conceivably, have an urban canopy covering up to fifty-eight percent its land. Tampa has established a good base of tree-planting efforts. Planners and landscape architects can help Tampa achieve its goals by focusing new tree-planting in the areas that can use new canopy the most.
Is tree planting an active effort in your city’s planning department?
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