Magazine article American Forests

Keeping an Eye on Jacksonville's Trees

Magazine article American Forests

Keeping an Eye on Jacksonville's Trees

Article excerpt

Development is outpacing urban tree retention in Jacksonville, Florida, posing a challenge to city leaders who hope to maintain air and water quality and manage stormwater runoff, according to an AMERICAN FORESTS analysis.

The northern Florida city lost 12.4 percent of its tree cover--about 29,000 acres--over the last decade while development there increased 16.4 percent, an addition of about 25,000 acres. The tree cover across the city varies widely; the urbanized area, within its beltway, has a 32 percent canopy, thanks to an initiative to retain woody wetlands, while the growing southeast portion recorded tree cover of just 10 percent.

The goal of the study is to give city leaders the capacity to calculate the value their trees provide for clean air and water. Those values can then be figured into land-use planning and management decisions.

Jacksonville's population is projected to increase by 35 percent between 1990 and 2020, making it critical that the city fully understand, and take advantage of, the value of its trees' natural capital. …

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