Shade trees planted to combat heat-related deaths in Arizona

Shade trees planted to combat heat-related deaths in Arizona

American Express and American Forests are collaborating

Separate from Phoenix's efforts to plant trees and install shade structures, American Express announced a $1.1 million forest grant in February 2022 to help the nonprofit conservation organization increase tree rights in four cities where American Express has offices: Phoenix, New York City ,salt. Lake City and Sunrise, Florida.

The two organizations are tracking the progress of their tree planting efforts with an interactive map that shows the degree of tree parity in neighborhoods throughout the Valley, not just Phoenix. According to the American Forests website, the Tree Equality Score evaluates existing tree canopy, population density, income, employment, surface temperature, race, age and health.

American Forests calculates tree canopy coverage in different parts of Phoenix through a partnership with EarthDefine, a geospatial data and services company based in Redmond, Washington. EarthDefine calculates coverage by targeting trees with a laser and measuring the time required for reflected light to return to the area. receiver. Their results differ from the canopy coverage reported by Mesa and Phoenix.

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Michelle Kurtz, a spokeswoman for American Forests, said they are using additional data from a variety of sources to draw the conclusion, including the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, and images from Landsat and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The US Forest Service did not say how many trees it expects to plant. But they noted that their goal is to get as close as possible to a tree equity score of 100 in each of the four cities covered by the grant. The grant will also support “climate-resilient urban forestry, create marketed forest jobs to historically marginalized populations, identify urban tree nursery needs and help build nursery capacity,” American Express said on its website.

According to the interactive map, Phoenix has an average tree value of 80 out of 100. Meanwhile, Mesa has an average score of 80 and Chandler has an average score of 81. Glendale and Gilbert also have scores of 75 and 83, respectively.

Tree stock scores in individual neighborhoods throughout Phoenix vary widely. Scores are significantly lower in low-income communities and communities of color in south and west Phoenix. Some neighborhoods have scores in the 20s, 30s, and 40s, while other neighborhoods in Phoenix have scores over 90.

On February 16, the partnership began when members of the American Express Phoenix office along with representatives from American Forests and the Arizona Sustainability Alliance volunteered to plant 45 trees in the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area just south of downtown Phoenix. Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego was among many community leaders in attendance.

Anyone interested in participating in the Tree Equity Program can visit the American Forests website and explore the “Get involved” page.

    (Tags for translation)Arizona

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