Washington, DC (April 25, 2008)- The Alliance for Community Trees provided written testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies regarding the FY 2009 federal budget. ACT urged the Senate to 1.) Provide a total of $50 million to the Forest Service to deliver a successful and expanded Urban and Community Forestry Program to the nation’s public. 2.) Increase the Forest Service’s research investments for urban forest research across its Research and Development units.
Urban forests are extremely important to the health of our people and the future of our cities. With leadership from the Forest Service, urban forests can be better managed and utilized to address the following concerns:
* Public Health: Access to trees, green spaces, and parks promotes greater physical activity, reduces stress, and reduces asthma risks.
* Climate: Trees cool ambient temperatures in cities, reducing emissions. Urban trees sequester 22.8 million tons of carbon per year – a service worth $3.8 billion annually.
* Energy: Tree windbreaks reduce residential heating costs 10-15%, while shading and evaporative cooling from trees can cut residential cooling costs 20-50%.
* Water: Urban forests are efficient stormwater management systems that can help cities reduce infrastructure and water treatment costs.
* Air: Trees produce oxygen, intercept airborne particulates, and reduce smog.
* Regulatory Compliance: Increasing tree cover by 10% in New York City would meet over 1/3 of the city’s federal air quality compliance needs for ground level ozone.
* Risk Management: Professional urban forest management contains threats in the “urban interface”- such as invasive species, exotic pests, and fire-that pose a risk to forestlands.
ACT members are urged to contact their House and Senate members to ask their support for urban forestry in the federal budget in FY09.
Read the full ACT FY09 Senate Testimony.