Trees are not evenly distributed in Georgia’s largest cities.
The website TreeEquityScore.org allows users to zoom in and out of census tracts to visualize factors such as lack of forest cover, race, and poverty.
It shows that some predominantly black Columbus and Savannah census tracts have less than 15% tree cover in areas where the poverty rate exceeds 80%.
The correlation between lack of tree cover, race and poverty is also demonstrated in Atlanta, Augusta and Macon, and it has led the Georgia Tree Council to add “tree equity” among the objectives of its tree planting grants. trees.
The council’s Mary Lynn Beckley says eligible projects can receive up to $7,500 to plant trees to improve health and the economy.
“There are so many benefits that come with healthy tree canopy,” Beckley said. “Every citizen is important and so they deserve all the benefits of healthy trees in their neighborhoods, in their schools.”
The tree planting program, called Georgia ReLeaf, was started in 2011 to help communities that lost trees after tornadoes swept through the state.
Funded by the Georgia Forestry Commission, he now wants to highlight the lack of trees in under-shaded communities.
“They need the trees there not only to provide the shade we need in the hot Georgia summers, but also to clean our water and our air,” Beckley said. “We don’t often think about these benefits until the trees are gone.”
The grant application deadline is September 16 and more information is available on this site.
This story comes to Reporter Newspapers/Atlanta Intown through a reporting partnership with BPG Newsa non-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.