The Las Vegas City Council recognized the value and importance of its existing and future tree cover by recently adopting the Urban Forestry Initiative. This effort will contribute to the city’s long-term sustainability as trees clean the air, improve stormwater management, conserve energy, reduce the urban heat index, improve public health and increase property values.
In addition to the tangible benefits of city trees, they add ambiance and beauty to the community. Streetscape trees invite more street level activities like dining, shopping, walking and cycling in a more comfortable and attractive setting.
The city received a $38,000 grant from the Nevada Division of Forestry and a match amount of $10,000 from the Southern Nevada Water Authority to conduct the first phase of the inventory of the existing tree canopy coverage. This assessment of the canopy coverage status is the first step in the development of an Urban Forest Management Plan.
The initiative’s goals include doubling the average tree canopy coverage to 20 percent by 2035 and working with existing and new partnerships to conduct research, secure funding resources and plant trees. This program will be an excellent opportunity to increase public awareness and appreciation of the community’s trees and the many benefits that they provide.
This is one more important building block in the city’s sustainability initiative that was called for in the community’s Conservation Element of the Las Vegas 2020 Master Plan. Developing and maintaining a sustainable urban forest is a critical in meeting the city’s air quality goals as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent below 1990 levels per the city’s Climate Protection Resolution.