Our community is home to a substantial urban forest that includes all of the trees within the watershed boundaries, from the small sapling in your backyard to the massive trees in Frick Park. These trees, however, are not equally distributed. Some streets lack tree canopy, while others have not only a significant amount of canopy, but a broad range of species as well. The benefits enjoyed by our watershed communities have a huge range based on the location and distribution of our Watershed Urban Forest.
Areas with large trees of numerous different species are likely to see a reduction in stormwater runoff, and urban heat island effect, as well as the benefits of improved air quality and property values. On the other hand, areas with smaller, or fewer, trees are less likely to enjoy these benefits. Further still, communities that would benefit most from urban tree canopy are typically the most vulnerable. It cannot be overcome by tree planting and tree care alone, but it cannot continue to be overlooked.
By comparing potential planting locations to our social equity map we can begin to better site trees to bridge that social/environmental gap by increasing the benefits in target areas.
This map shows the overlay of the two studies, the Urban Forest Equity study as well as the NMRWA Environmental Equity Map.