Reforest Our City


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Improving Cleveland's Tree Coverage

Trees are important to Cleveland’s history, health and pride. But development and disease have decimated the city’s urban forest. Scientists say that Cleveland’s tree coverage should be at least 30 percent; instead we’re at 18 percent and falling.

Why We Do This Work

In 2015, the City of Cleveland issued the Cleveland Tree Plan, a comprehensive look at Cleveland’s dwindling tree canopy and what needs to be done to reforest the Forest City. The findings are concerning: Cleveland has lost 5 percent of its tree cover from 2011 to 2017. Similarly sized cities like Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., and Cincinnati all boast a healthy urban tree canopy well above 30 percent; as of 2020, Cleveland’s tree canopy coverage was only 18 percent and declining. We need to plant more than 28,000 trees each year to meet the goal of 30 percent tree coverage by 2040.

Western Reserve Land Conservancy is a leader in this effort.

We chair the Cleveland Tree Coalition, a collaborative group of public, private, and community stakeholders who have partnered with the City of Cleveland to rebuild our urban forest. This positions Western Reserve Land Conservancy as a key player in advocating for funding, policy changes, and broad public awareness of the benefits of trees. So far, we have:

  • Planted and distributed more than 15,000 trees throughout Cleveland
  • Trained local Tree Stewards (more than 300 and counting), community volunteers who plant, care for, and  maintain trees in and around their neighborhoods
  • Planted trees in areas that guarantee their best opportunity to survive and thrive
  • Partnered with all of Cleveland’s profesional sports franchises — the Cleveland Guardians, the Cleveland Browns, and the Cleveland Cavaliers — to host tree plantings and giveaways throughout Cleveland

Reforest Our City plants trees in formerly-redlined Cleveland neighborhoods where a lack of trees harms communities. Using the Cleveland Tree Plan, we have identified priority neighborhoods for planting and urban reforestation. These neighborhoods are:

  • Slavic Village
  • Mount Pleasant
  • Union-Miles
  • Buckeye-Shaker
  • Buckeye-Woodhill
  • Detroit Shoreway
  • Cudell