Carbon Credits to Fund Urban Forests: City Forest Credits

Originally published on

Written by Mark McPherson and Jordan Wildish

Urban U.S. forests comprise 141 million acres of land and provide $18.3 billion in benefits per year directly to the 80% of our population that lives, works, breathes, and recreates there. Yet many of our city forests are being lost. Urban and community tree cover declined by 175,000 acres, or 36 million trees, per year between 2009 and 2014. If we assume that same annual loss through 2019, this equals the de-forestation of land area the combined size of Boston, New York, Miami, Atlanta, St. Louis, Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. This tree loss represents a loss of over $100 million of benefits from the rain interception, heating, cooling, air quality, and carbon sequestration those trees provided. Heat kills more people than storms or other weather events, and urban tree cover saves lives, as documented in two recent articles in the New York Times.

Carbon credits are one piece of the effort to keep our cities green and equitable.

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