New Orleans is known for its food, streetcars and tree lined avenues. But did you know that New Orleans is also the most deforested city in the Unites States? This matters for reasons beyond visual appeal. Our urban forest is critical to us living with water, New Orleans’ central challenge.
Trees slow down stormwater runoff and subsidence, lower our ambient temperatures, clean our soil, water and air, and improve neighborhood safety. We are dependent on our urban forest, and we need to replant it strategically and at a relevant scale – one neighborhood at a time, not one tree at at time. We need to build a large-scale canopy substantial enough to systematically protect our city, and ourselves. Such notions of scale, and systemic benefits, did not dictate the planning for tree planting in New Orleans until SOUL was launched in June 2016.
Our Community Forestry program works closely with the below neighborhoods in planting trees in their communities. Volunteer community planting events get trees in the ground while bringing together neighbors. The goal is to cluster trees in our partner communities until they are reforested. Then we will expand to other neighborhoods. This way we can more quickly impact flooding, subsidence, pollution, rising temperatures, and community health.