As part of its efforts to protect its urban forest, the City of Tampa is calling all residents and other stakeholders to join in its strategy to protect, grow, and manage Tampa's invaluable tree canopy and vegetation.
Following the recent completion of the 2021 Urban Ecological Analysis, the City of Tampa, along with researchers from the University of South Florida, will host a Symposium on Community Trees and the Urban Forest on Thursday, July 13, 2023 at the Tampa River Center from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The purpose of the event is to share the results of the analysis and provide residents with an opportunity to learn about Tampa's strategy to manage its more than 10.4 million trees and ways they can be involved.
The City of Tampa tree ordinance requires an assessment of the tree canopy and urban forest every five years. Below are some of the key findings from the most recent report:
- Each year, Tampa's urban forest reduces 1004 tons of air pollutants that cause respiratory problems, eliminating an estimated $9.9 million in health care costs.
- Tampa's tree canopy reduces residential building air conditioning (shading) and heating (wind break) costs by $6.3 million.
- Tree canopy ranged from a low 7% in the Channel District and 9% in the Tampa Downtown Partnership, to a high of 73% in Tampa Palms, 60% Hunter's Green-Pinnacle and 57% in New Suburb Beautiful. However, the total acreage of tree canopy is largest in the Tampa Palms, Old Seminole Heights, Gandy Civic Association and Hunters Green neighborhood associations.
- Tree canopy is higher in neighborhoods with more children and more elderly residents.
- Tree canopy coverage in 2021 was at its lowest percentage in 26 years.
- The loss of tree canopy since 2011 is approximately 3,300 acres.
- Total estimated structural (or replacement) value of the urban forest is $2.03 billion.
"Our urban forest is one of our most valuable assets, providing innumerable benefits to our health and well-being, lifestyle, safety, and economy," said Mayor Jane Castor. "Therefore, we must work together to replenish our precious tree canopy, which has been depleted over generations. But such a mission requires strong community participation now and for years to come."
The symposium is open to all members of the public and does not require registration.