City of Albuquerque plants more trees to bring back urban forest

The city of Albuquerque is slowly losing its tree canopy. Now, Mayor Tim Keller is breaking down his decade long plan to make the city greener, physically.

In honor of Arbor Day, the city planted a handful of new elms at Roosevelt Park. The goal is to build back up the urban forest in Albuquerque.

“We’re trying, I believe, a 10% increase in tree canopy and that’s going to give us all sorts of benefits from temperature, and wind reduction,” said Mayor Keller.

Roosevelt is just one example of a city park that needs more trees. The trees in most city parks were planted back in the 1930s-1950s.

They’re old and reaching the end of their life span, and because of that, they’re starting to become dangerous. Many of them can’t stand up to high winds.

The branches become weak, and they could fall and hurt somebody. In order to prevent that, the city’s forester is going around, checking and marking old trees for removal, and to be replaced.

“Choosing the ones that are in the worst condition, taking them out, replanting on a…every tree we take out we put two to three new ones,” said Joran Viers, city forester.

Studies show the city has a tree canopy of about 10%, yet it’s losing nearly 1% of its canopy every year.

Mayor Keller says the goal is to plant one tree for every child in Albuquerque. That is roughly 100,000 trees over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, the city forester is looking to remove 50 unhealthy trees by the end of the year.

Mayor Keller plans to create a new urban management plan, using funds from the city budget, to hire an assistant forester to help reach the goal of 100,000 new trees in 10 years.

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