New York Invests $1.4 Million in Public Trees

central park trees

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, or the DEC, is taking big steps to plant new trees across the state.

Beginning in 2021, the DEC is funding grants for 38 projects in different parts of the state. These urban forestry projects, receiving more than $1.4 million in grants, are designed to spread new forest growth across the state – mainly in urban areas.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden got approval for a DEC grant of over $48,000, which will add approximately 5,000 to the garden there.

According to the Brooklyn Reader, the program is designed to raise public awareness of trees’ importance, and to assist communities as they build “comprehensive tree management plans” to maintain healthy forests and improve their residents’ quality of life.

As for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, some of that garden’s trees have been there since the area first opened to the public in 1910. The new grant will expand the BBG’s inventory across 52 acres, and will be completed by outside consultants over the course of two years.

A big part of the investment will go toward collecting more data on these trees. Arborists will track the condition of each individual tree, as well as their size and shape. That data will be used for long-term planning and tree care at the garden, as well as a five-year management plan for the community forest there.

New York’s DEC is one of 101 agencies that report directly to Governor Andrew Cuomo. The department is charged with the responsibilities of preventing and controlling pollution, as well as managing animals, fish, and wildlife across the state. The DEC has its own Office of Climate Change, which works to mold environmental policy that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide. Planting new trees helps support that mission.