Connecticut has the highest percentage of forest cover in the nation with 61.6% of its urban areas under the cover of trees, according to the USDA Forest Service’s recently published report, “U.S. Urban Forest Statistics, Values, and Projections.”
Connecticut is the 4th most urbanized state – just behind New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island – with over 1/3rd of the state’s land considered urban. However, Connecticut’s urban areas provide a home to almost 9 out of every 10 state residents (88%), so a vast majority of us are literally urban forest dwellers.
Though we should be proud of how we currently enjoy the many benefits of trees in urban areas, Connecticut's current rate of urban growth over the next 50 years is projected to significantly change the tree-filled character of our state. The report projects that Connecticut’s urban land area will grow from covering 37.7% of the state in 2010 to covering 65.3% of the state by 2060. Only Rhode Island and Delaware are projected to urbanize at a faster rate.
So, it's important to understand that the many decisions made today at the state and local level involving how trees are planted, cared for, and replaced over time are critical to the future of your urban forest and the health of your community. As the report concludes:
“Urban areas in the U.S. continue to expand, increasing the importance of urban forests in sustaining environmental quality and human health and well-being … A healthy urban forest and proper urban forest management can help reduce some of the environmental issues associated with urbanization (e.g., increased air temperatures and energy use, reduced air and water quality, increased human stress) and ultimately help humans living within and around urban areas.”
If you have any questions about this report, please contact CFPA Executive Director Eric Hammerling via firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your support of CFPA!