Tampa is climbing up in the rankings of some of the world’s best and most livable cities, but there’s one metric where it’s already number one. Can you guess what that is?
Tampa is the number one “tree city” in the world! It has the greatest percentage of coverage by trees (36%), and by a somewhat significant amount – the city with the next most tree coverage, Singapore, has 7% less.1
If you’re a Tampa tree-hugger, you’re probably happy just to have a lot of trees around, but there are other benefits to having so much tree coverage in our city – the trees save Tampa $7 million dollars annually in energy costs, $121 million per year in carbon sequestration and storage, and $3.4 million in storm water treatment savings.2
Tampa already has an Urban Forest Management Plan, but because of the special benefits offered by our trees, one horticulture professor wants to look at how tree ordinances might be able to better protect other cities’ canopies into the future.
Andrew Koeser, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of environmental horticulture based at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, recently looked at the protective tree ordinances of 43 cities in Florida. Apparently cities with tree ordinances protect 6.7% more of the canopy than those that don’t have them.3
And when other cities are only looking at, say, 17-18% canopy coverage, that 6.7% is a lot.4
Tampa’s trees are such a unique asset that undoubtedly help us stay “green” in a natural way! By all means they ought to be protected. Making friends with our trees is another way that Tampa is on the cutting edge – our success in keeping down energy costs this way will hopefully be a reason for other cities to #SAVETHETREES as well.
1) Gross, Lila. “Tampa Named No. 1 City in the World with the Most Trees.” WFLA, 27 Mar. 2018, www.wfla.com/news/local-news/tampa-named-worlds-biggest-tree-city/1083863611.
2) Buck, Brad. “Cities with Tree Protection Cover More Canopy.” The Times, The Times, 8 Apr. 2019, www.apalachtimes.com/news/20190408/cities-with-tree-protection-cover-more-canopy.