Dallas City Council Adopts Urban Forest Master Plan to Save The Trees


The fight to protect trees in and around Dallas has been going on for decades. Efforts have included the struggle to keep Federal officials from clear-cutting Texas in the 70s and arborist Steve Houser’s founding of the Dallas Urban Forest Advisory Committee. Last month the trees of Dallas scored another win when the City Council unanimously approved the Texas Trees Foundation’s Urban Forest Master Plan.

“I would say that the city’s priority has not always been the environment,” said Tristan Hallman, spokesperson for Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. Mr. Hallman also stated that the new plan has been “years in the making.” Advocacy for forests and their impact on the city found renewed interest after the tornado season of 2019 when North Dallas lost approximately 200 acres of trees to storms.

The Urban Forest Master Plan aims to increase the city’s canopy cover from the 32% it has now to 37% by 2040. The hope is that the increased greenery will help combat extreme heat, carbon pollution, and flooding in areas that have been heavily affected by deforestation. Activists and experts say that the best way to accomplish the Plan’s goals is through community outreach and participation. Activists believe that involving community members in the planting and care of the trees fosters a sense of pride in their neighborhoods. Susan Alvarez, assistant director for Dallas’ Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability, has said that local citizens will form a task force in the coming months to gain additional input on the best ways to implement the Master Plan.

While the debate is still being held about which areas of the city will most benefit from replanting and prioritizing them, the Texas Trees Foundation’s Cool School program already has plans for this fall. With the help of local students, the Cool School program will be adding trees to the grounds of Cowart Elementary School, Anson Jones Elementary School, Ann Frank Elementary School, Mockingbird Elementary School, Esperanza “Hope” Medrano Elementary School, Alex W. Spence Talented/Gifted Academy, and Harold W. Wendell Lang Sr. Middle School.


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