Tree Cover

The number of trees and the area shaded by them influences many neighborhood factors, such as attractiveness and lower summer temperatures that, in turn, encourage residents and visitors to walk and do other physical activity. “Tree canopy cover” measures the percent of a neighborhood that is covered (or shaded) by trees.

 About the Measure

Tree Canopy Cover – Percent

How Calculated: 

Tree canopy cover represents a ‘top down’ mapping perspective in which tree canopy over-hanging city features (such as sidewalks) is measured. The percent is calculated by dividing the area of tree canopy in km2 within the UHF neighborhood by the total land area (excluding inland water bodies). Higher percentages indicate greater tree canopy cover, with zero representing no tree canopy cover.

Source: The Built Environment & Health Project (BEH), Columbia University

Harlem

As found on the Fred R. Moore public school on 5th Avenue.

What Now? (After the storm)

After Hurricane (or Tropical Storm) Isaias tore through New York City, the city, businesses, utilities, and neighbors have all been struggling to deal with the loss of mature trees. This tree on Randall’s Island (just over the 103st Bridge) is one example:

Before the storm and before COVID, the city had been marking-up, grinding out, and preparing a number of empty tree pits in our community for replanting with a new, young tree. This is a classic example:

Where the sidewalk has been cut out to the regulation size, and the address (on 5th Avenue) has been spray painted in white. This tree pit should have been populated in March but now who knows what will happen with the COVID related budget cuts that are starting to be felt in all city departments?

Street trees store 23% of all the carbon that New Yorkers produce. NYC ‘forests’ – think trees in parks – store another 69%:

See:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-28/planting-city-trees-with-a-new-focus-on-equity?

Help Our Trees

As the recent hurricane showed, our street trees take a huge beating in extraordinary events like Isaias and in the world of day-to-day life on the streets of New York.

You may not know this but the moment a tree is planted in the sidewalk, the open patch of dirt and anything contained in it miraculously (okay, legally) changes from DOT control to Parks Department. Flowers, mulch, tree guards, trees, whatever – if it’s in a tree pit, Parks owns it – even if you planted it!

There is no (legal) such thing as ‘my’ tree in the sidewalk. The city owns it and manages it via the Parks Department irrespective of origin. That said, we all exist in a realpolitik space where we can’t necessarily count on city agencies to respond to every minute need, and thus we, as concerned citizens, need to take the initiative and do what’s right.

After paving (think Park and 5th Avenues this past week), block parties, film shoots, and family gatherings, ‘our’ street trees often remain taped with notices. Please, if you see taped notices on trees, remove it as carefully as you can.

Tape traps moisture, that both rots bark, and provides a moist haven for damaging insects. (Think of bandaids you might have left on a bit too long.)

Always, remove taped/stapled notices from trees (once the event has passed) and help a struggling street tree.

More Hurricane Damage

The day after Hurricane Isaias is one of disbelief in many communities. Today I saw a huge tree down at Park Avenue and 120th Street:

This will undoubtedly impact the use of the sports field that the tree fell into and may impact this school’s opening plans unless the tree is removed and the fence repaired soon.