The New Orleans Reforestation Plan was completed in December 2022. It was unanimously recognized through a City Council Resolution on January 19, 2023 and released at a press conference on January 20, 2023. You can find the complete plan here.
New Orleans is one of the most deforested cities in the U.S. Hurricane Katrina decimated 200,000 trees in 2005. Since then, there have been many determined efforts to plant trees in New Orleans, but the data shows that unfortunately our canopy has continued to decline, and today our city’s tree canopy currently covers a mere 18.5% of New Orleans. A vibrant tree canopy is critical to New Orleans’ resilience to storms and climate change. The urban canopy slows storm winds, lowers air temperatures and energy bills, absorbs stormwater and cleans the air.
In May 2021, the Mayor’s Office signed a memorandum of understanding in support of SOUL developing a Reforestation Plan for the City of New Orleans.
In the summer of 2022, SOUL contracted urban planner and LSU professor, Traci Birch, to host several roundtable meetings with professionals and city employees who interface with trees. The goal was to get their feedback on current hurdles to reforestation, and their ideas for how and where to plant trees, and what strategies will be most effective.
In November 2022, SOUL hosted 7 public meetings throughout the city to provide community members the opportunity to voice their thoughts and concerns about trees in their neighborhoods, and their ideas for how to replant New Orleans.
Research and Data
Meanwhile, SOUL ordered two sets of satellite data from two different companies to assess the current state of New Orleans’ urban forest. Both sets of data revealed that our tree canopy covers only 18.5% of the city.
Next, local landscape architecture firm, Spackman, Mossop, Michaels was contracted to create the physical plan based on all of the feedback from the meetings, a year of research, and the two sets of data. This document then went through a series of edits based on feedback from Parks and Parkways, the Office of Resilience and Sustainability, and City Planning.
If you have any questions about the Reforestation Plan, please contact Susannah Burley at 504 535 5116 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.