The City of Lakes may also be referred to as the “City of Trees” after Minneapolis was recently named as one of the 10 best U.S. cities for urban forests by conservation organization American Forests.
With more than 190 park properties totaling 6,744 acres, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is responsible for maintaining a large portion of the city’s nearly one million trees, including those in parks and along boulevards.
According to American Forests, it is estimated that the city’s urban forest has a structural value of $756 million and also reduces energy use by $216,000 per year. This reduction in energy usage reduces carbon emissions at an estimated value of $16,000. Minneapolis’ tree canopy of 31 percent is only 6.5 percent shy of its potential canopy of 37.5 percent based on geographic information system (GIS) analysis and modeling. Minneapolis was actually one of the first cities to use the U.S. Forest Service’s iTree assessment tool to determine the benefits of its urban forest.
“The Park Board is continuously committed to greening the city of Minneapolis by maintaining its urban forest and adding to it,” said MPRB President John Erwin. “Since 2009, we’ve increased our annual tree plantings in parks and along boulevards. From 1990 through 2009, the Park Board averaged 3,400 trees planted each year, which has increased to an average of 5,300 trees each year from 2010 and into 2013.”
Other cities named among the 10 best were Austin, Charlotte, Denver, Milwaukee, New York, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
The cities were chosen among the 50 most populous cities in the nation based on the following criteria:
- Civic engagement in maintaining the urban forest;
- Urban forest strategies and city greening to address city infrastructure challenges;
- Accessibility of urban forest and greenspaces to the public;
- Overall health and condition of the city’s urban forest;
- Documented knowledge about its urban forests; and
- Urban forest management plans and management activities.
To learn more about the urban forest of Minneapolis, visit www.minneapolisparks.org/trees.
Read more about the 10 best cities for urban forests at www.americanforests.org.