July 06, 2019 4 min read

Urban reforestation is one of the best ways to create healthier and more eco-friendly cities. 

Trees provide immense value in cities of all sizes, from lowering temperatures and energy use to cleaning the air and reducing water pollution. Trees also support biodiversity for birds and other wildlife, and are known to improve overall wellness for local inhabitants. 

These are just a few of the reasons why we're part of the Cities4Forests initiative to re-green city environments all around the world. And we've been busy this past spring! There have been about 22 different tree planting events from Philadelphia to Kenya in the past few months. So far in 2019 we have planted over 3,300 trees with over 800 volunteers in urban spaces. And while that may sound like a humble number compared to some of the other projects we're undertaking, keep in mind that trees in urban areas need to be larger and more mature, often requiring more effort to get in the ground! Such trees are better able to thrive in cities with all the stresses city life demands - from less nutrient-dense soil to increased pollutants in the air. 

Here are a few of our urban reforestation highlights.

400 Trees in Great Manchester 

In April alongside City of Trees, 24 volunteers planted 400 trees in Crompton Moor and around Oldham. This event was part of a larger project which saw 4,000 trees planted at the popular recreation site Crompton Moor. Various tree species were planted including Hornbeam, Downy Birch, Silver Birch, Hawthorn, Hazel, English Oak, and Rowan. There will also be research carried out on the impact of different tree species, soil preparation, and rain water retention on slopes. 

Crompton Moor is home to many animals and an excellent spot for birdwatchers. Numerous habitats here support wildlife, such as grassland, woodland, and a waterfall which flows into the Pingot Quarry. For human visitors there are many walking paths as well as trails for cycling and horseback riding. 

95 Trees in Philadelphia 

In Philadelphia we worked with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for several tree planting events at Spring Garden, Francisville, Point Breeze, Fairhill, and University City. Many different tree species were planted at these events, including Acer campestre, Cercis canadensis, Halesia tetraptera, Malus, and Prunus. 

Volunteers got 95 trees in the ground across these locations and they were quite eventful affairs! At Point Breeze, Jordan Harris, the Pennsylvania State Representative for the district, presented a certificate of appreciation to a long time resident who also received three trees. The Fairhill Tree Tenders collaborated with a local community center who rallied a number of local of youth. Many of these youths relocated to Philadelphia from Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. In preparation for tree planting, the Spring Garden Tree Tenders completed mulching in March and plan to do weeding and watering throughout the summer.

100 Trees in Campinas, Brazil

57 students from Antonio da Costa Santos Public School came together to plant 100 native tree seedlings in the City of Campinas. All of the trees planted were cataloged using QR codes. Prior to planting the trees the students sat in on a lecture to learn about how trees affect the well being of humankind. 

In September of 2018 the Mayor of Campinas, Jonas Donizette, decided to bring more awareness to residents about the importance of conservation of forests and the many benefits trees provide to people living in cities. With this commitment the city is now a founding member of Cities4Forests and an example for sustainable cities everywhere.  

1,600 Trees Planted in Quito, Ecuador

During the months of April and May, Secretaria de Ambiente gathered over 130 volunteers consisting of multiple university and high school students. They held five different events across Quito, Ecuador. Locations of the events were San Jose de Minas and Parque Metropolitano del Sur. An impressive amount of native trees were planted totaling to about 1600 trees! Species that were planted include Cedrela montana, Alnus acuminata, and Juglans neotropica.

San Jose de Minas is a forest which surrounds the city and four of the five events were held here. Parque Metropolitano del Sur is the largest park in Quito. Located on the south end of the city, the park is 750 hectares and is known as one of the most visited destinations for recreational activities, leisure, and to connect with nature in Quito. 

500 Trees in Accra, Ghana

500 trees were planted by 50 volunteers of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly in Mamprobi Community, Accra! They teamed up with students from local schools as well as local representatives from the community to get the trees planted.  

400 Trees in Nairobi, Kenya

In Nairobi, Kenya 75 volunteers planted 405 trees of various species! The trees were planted at Loreto Covent primary, Ngong Road, and Satellite police Station. Colleagues of the project have been hard at work trying to improve the greenery in Nairobi. In addition to this project another 1,000 trees were planted for World Environment Day, 2,000 trees in Bomas of Kenya Nhong Forest, and 320 trees at the Riruta Primary School! 

900 Plants in Mexico City

In Mexico City, the Secretaría del Medio Ambiente brought together 100 volunteers to create a pollinator garden! Over 900 variety of plants went into the garden which included Muitle, Toronjil, Aretillo, Cigarrillos, Salvia, Toronjil, Zinnia, Margarita Silvestre, Lantana, Ruda, Albahaca, Mirto, and Árnica. The garden is located in the Bosque San Juan de Aragón which is one of Mexico City’s most important public parks. Dr. Marina Robles Garcia, the Secretary of the Environment for Mexico City was present at the event and also launched her campaign named "Reto Verde” or “Green Challenge”. This campaign’s goal is to plant 10 million trees and shrubs in Mexico City by November of 2020.

The Bosque San Juan de Aragón was created in 1964 and is approximately 162 hectares of land. About 114 hectares of that total is made up of green space. The remaining land is made up of cultural and recreational areas such as lakes, playgrounds, skating rink, an outdoor theatre and even a spa! The park accommodates about 3.5 million visitors each year.

Thanks as always for your support in helping these reforestation projects happen, we couldn't do it without you 💚

We plant trees on 4 continents around the world. Want to choose where yours are planted?

by Diana Chaplin

Canopy Director & Eco-Storyteller