When it comes to tree canopy coverage in Newport, our goals are:
- To maintain and grow the existing tree canopy coverage (presently at 33 percent).
- Improve the quality and health of the current tree canopy.
- To equalize the tree canopy coverage between neighborhoods.
Presently, a majority of our Public Works Department and City Arborists’ time is dedicated to taking care of the 4,000 public trees in our parks and along our streets. To grow our tree canopy, Newport is fortunate to have many volunteers who are dedicated to planting new trees throughout the city. These new guidelines are meant to educate and streamline the tree planting process for volunteers.
Why tree canopies are important to the City of Newport.
Tree canopies in cities offer a range of environmental, economic, social, and health benefits. Here's why they are important:
- Temperature Regulation: Trees provide shade and release water through transpiration, which cools the air. This reduces the "urban heat island" effect, where urban areas experience much higher temperatures than their rural surroundings.
- Air Quality Improvement: Trees absorb pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, ammonia, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter, purifying the air. They also produce oxygen, improving overall air quality.
- Carbon Sequestration: Trees absorb and store carbon dioxide, helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Urban forests can act as carbon sinks, offsetting some of the carbon emissions from cities.
- Rainwater Management: Tree canopies intercept rainfall and reduce runoff, which can decrease the risk of flooding and reduce the need for stormwater infrastructure. This can also help in filtering pollutants before they reach local waterways.
- Energy Savings: Trees can reduce energy consumption by providing shade in the summer (reducing the need for air conditioning) and acting as windbreaks in the winter (reducing heating needs).
- Economic Benefits: Attractive tree-lined streets can increase property values and can boost business in commercial areas. Moreover, the cooling effect of trees can translate to reduced energy bills.
- Biodiversity: Urban trees provide habitat for a variety of birds, insects, and small animals, promoting biodiversity even within a city environment.
- Social and Psychological Benefits: Green spaces and tree canopies have been associated with improved mental well-being. They can reduce stress, promote relaxation, and increase the sense of community among residents. Areas with trees are also more likely to encourage outdoor activities, fostering social interactions and physical health.
- Aesthetic Value: Trees beautify urban landscapes, making cities more pleasant places to live, work, and visit.
- Noise Reduction: Trees can act as a buffer and reduce noise pollution, providing a quieter environment in bustling urban areas.
- Erosion Control: Trees, especially in conjunction with other vegetation, help stabilize the soil, preventing erosion and sediment runoff.