City of Des Moines Urban Tree Planting 2023

Project Profile

Project Location

Des Moines, Iowa

Project Operator

Trees Forever

Project Type


Project Credits


Credit Availability


Project Contact

Megan Schneider, Director of Programs,

Trees Forever is a non-profit with a three-decade history of success in Iowa. As part of this project, Trees Forever, in partnership with the City of Des Moines, planted 1,950 street trees. The trees were planted in City-owned rights-of-way and parks, with the major focus being street trees, throughout Des Moines in spring and fall 2023. The main species planted include oak (red, bur, swamp white), London planetree, and American elm. This project will grow local, young leaders, create greener, more beautiful neighborhoods, enhance underserved communities, and deliver quantified benefits.

Trees Forever works closely with community partners to make their projects happen. This project will increase tree equity across the city by targeting trees to under-resourced neighborhoods, completing major street corridor plantings, and supporting youth workforce development through the Growing Futures program. Growing Futures addresses critical social, economic, and environmental needs in Des Moines by using a thoughtfully designed and hands-on approach to give Iowa’s young people needed workplace skills and open doors for them to green careers all while planting trees. Growing Futures participants will plant and care for trees planted as part of this project.

This project is the fourth in Trees Forever’s carbon program. Prior projects include Reforesting Des Moines 2019, Reforesting Des Moines 2021, and City of Des Moines Urban Tree Planting 2022.


Trees planted as part of this project will provide ecosystem services, also known as co-benefits, when they reach 25 years old. The co-benefits represent a savings (avoided costs) of $123,045 per year when the trees reach age 25, and $3,199,180 over the next 25 to 50 years.

  • Rain interception (stormwater management) – 8,483 m3/year, $60,733 per year
  • Air quality – 0.29 tons/year, $1,209 per year
  • Energy use – cooling (electricity) – 282,150 kWh/year, $21,415 per year
  • Energy use – heating (natural gas) – 4,076,933 kBtu/year, $39,688 per year

Social Impacts

The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an urgent call for action and global partnership among all countries, representing key benchmarks for creating a better world and environment for everyone. Well-designed and managed urban forests make significant contributions to the environmental sustainability, economic viability and livability of cities. The main SDGs for this project are described below, with more detailed information in the Project Design Document.

Trees Forever prioritizes hiring students from local high schools for the Growing Futures employment program and works with local contractors for additional watering needs.


Through this project, Trees Forever aims to reduce inequalities in the city of Des Moines through engaging in community partnerships, planting trees in low-income areas (particularly historically redlined areas of the city), and organizing plantings around schools, affordable housing development, and in areas with low tree canopy.


Trees Forever plants trees in low canopy areas and open spaces, with a focus on broad leaf species, which have better capacity to sequester air pollutants. Planting trees in open spaces provides shade and protection from UV exposure and reduces urban heat effects. Biodiversity is considered when selecting species that are best suited for the Des Moines urban environment.

Total Credits Issued: 349

  • 2024: 349 credits issued

Total Credits Sold: 0

Total Credits Retired: 0

Total Credits Cancelled: 0

Total Credits Available for Purchase: 349

Explore More Carbon Projects