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Officials: Baltimore Is Losing Trees At Alarming Rate

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It appears most areas are losing trees and Baltimore is no exception. Annually, major cities are reporting nearly four million trees lost.

Tim Williams explains what factors have hit our region the hardest.

Trees are losing ground to pavement in many American cities and Baltimore is among them.

“It does indicate a decrease in the total tree canopy for Baltimore, as well as a number of other U.S. cities,” said Baltimore City forester Erik Dihle.

The recently released U.S. Forest Service study runs through 2005 and identifies a decline in tree cover at a rate of nearly four million trees per year.

“There’s, of course, natural disasters like Hurricane Irene last August, where we lost 1,300 trees. We also lose trees because of a lack of adequate after-care of new tree planting,” Dihle said.

Satellite imagery was used to determine 17 of 20 cities studied lost tree cover, while 16 saw increases in pavement and rooftops.

Recent tropical storms like Irene and Lee are largely to blame. Baltimore lost nearly two percent of its entire tree canopy during the study’s eight-year period, almost twice the average for most cities analyzed. Another factor around the downtown area is the Baltimore Grand Prix.

Baltimore’s new sustainability plan calls for doubling the city tree canopy by 2037. That means 8,800 trees will be planted or given away, beginning in July.

“We’re going to turn around any tree loss as we go forward and I believe that’s happening right now,” Dihle said.

Baltimore is not far behind the three biggest tree losers. They are New Orleans, Houston and Albuquerque.

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