Seattle is ranked on a new list of the 10 best U.S. cities for urban forests by conservation organization American Forests.
The organization defines urban forests as “ecosystems of trees and other vegetation in and around communities that may consist of street and yard trees, vegetation within parks and along public rights of way and water systems.”
They said Seattle does a great job monitoring its trees. Seattle’s 4.35 million trees are said to be worth about $4.9 billion, contributing to $5.9 million in energy savings and storing 2 million tons of carbon.
Scott Steen, CEO of American Forests, said Seattle has a detailed inventory of trees that closely tracks where they can be planted and what type to plant, allowing for optimal species diversity.
"Many cities across the U.S. are doing great work to care for their urban forests," Steen said. "Over the years, Seattle has developed strong partnerships to build and maintain its urban forest, while also embracing new techniques and technologies to better monitor its work.”
Portland, Austin, Charlotte, Denver, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Sacramento and Washington, D.C. also made the list.
Fifty of the country’s most populous cities were considered and the top 10 were chosen by a panel who selected from criteria including civic engagement, accessibility to the public, overall forest health, and a city’s knowledge of its tree canopy.
The project was funded by the U.S. Forest Service.
Despite bragging rights, Seattle’s high ranking could have other benefits. American Forests says past studies have shown a correlation between trees in a city and lower rates of crime, reduced stress levels and lower body mass.