Trees are the city’s ‘green infrastructure.’ Just as we manage our grey infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, bridges and pipes), we also need to manage
our ‘green infrastructure’ (trees and other vegetation). The city’s green infrastructure provides many values that support a vibrant, safe and healthful
community. Trees add to a city’s historic character and enhance livability by filtering storm water and reducing runoff, cleaning the air, providing oxygen, shade, natural beauty and enhanced property values. Planting a tree to shade a home can save 50% of annual air conditioning costs and can soak up thousands of gallons of stormwater each year to reduce street flooding.
This report describes the tree canopy and associated benefits for the community of Pahokee, Florida in Palm Beach County. The tree canopy assessment was created by the Green Infrastructure Center Inc. (GIC) and funded by Community Greening, a nonprofit grassroots tree planting and tree advocacy organization. GIC analyzed the city’s tree canopy extent and plantable open spaces along with a ranking scheme to prioritize the most equitable planting areas first. Next, the environmental benefits including air quality improvements and shade benefits provided by the city’s trees were analyzed.
Pahokee has a tree canopy of 10% with room to add significantly more tree cover that would provide many benefits to the city for shade, air quality, urban cooling, habitat and natural beauty. These benefits trees provide for Pahokee’s residents are called ‘ecosystem services’ or benefits nature provides relatively for free. In fact, the city could achieve a far greater canopy coverage with a maximum of 29% tree cover, thereby providing even more benefits to the community.
To learn more about Tree Canopy Assessment, see our Tree Planning and Planting Campaigns page.