Why It Matters

Trees in cities provide health, employment and climate resiliency benefits that everyone should have. They help fulfill our basic needs, such as breathing fresh air and drinking clean water. Trees also cool neighborhoods, which reduces heat-related illnesses and utility costs, and generate wealth by creating tree-related career opportunities. Much like buildings, streets and sewer lines, trees are critical infrastructure that improve our quality of life. 

In cities nationwide, city trees already prevent approximately 1,200 heat-related deaths and countless heat-related illnesses annually. By creating Tree Equity, we can save lives and slow climate change.
Photo Credit: Evan Frost / American Forests

But a map of tree cover in America’s cities is too often a map of income and race. That’s because, due to decades of redlining and other discriminatory policies, trees are often sparse in neighborhoods with more low-income families and people of color. Studies show that the neighborhoods that were redlined have fewer trees, preventing the people living there from reaping the benefits trees provide. 

To achieve full Tree Equity, we need to plant and grow 500 million trees across urbanized America, according to our 2021 Tree Equity Score. Simply put, Tree Equity is about ensuring there are trees in every part of every city.

To do this, we strive to achieve these three goals by 2030:

100 Cities
100 American cities have achieved Tree Equity by taking action to ensure every neighborhood has a passing Tree Equity Score.

More Jobs
100,000 people, many from marginalized communities, have newly-entered careers in forestry.

Healthy People
Create heat-resilient communities in urbanized America by planting and maintaining trees in neighborhoods that need them the most.