The City of Trees project, which was launched in November, 2015, plans to plant a tree for every man, woman and child in the Greater Manchester area in England. Since that equals roughly three million trees, the plantings will take place over the next 25 years. While some of the trees will be planted in existing forests, the City of Trees will plant others in areas whey they hope to establish new woodlands. Many will be planted in parks, along streets, or on private property.
The City of Trees also manages existing woodlands and is working with scientists from the University of Manchester who are studying the ways in which trees can purify storm water and reduce flooding in urban and suburban areas.
The City of Trees wants to educate people about the benefits of having trees. They can, for instance, improve air quality and reduce stress. Tony Hotherstall, the director of the project, elaborated during an interview with the BBC: “In terms of health… woodlands can do great things in terms of air pollution reduction… [and] can help to screen for noise pollution. They can also help cities and towns become more resilient to climate change both in terms of things like reducing the urban heat island effect and also reducing things like risk from surface water flooding.”
Trees even benefit the economy: people are willing to pay more for houses and apartments that have mature trees growing on the property. People who live near trees tend to be healthier both physically and mentally than those who do not and thus pay less in medical costs. People who live near parks, for example, are more likely to get their daily quota of exercise.
City of Trees, which is led by the Community Forest Trust (CFT) and the Oglesby Trust, is the spiritual descendant of the CFT’s Red Rose Forest that had been operating since the early 1990s. The Red Rose Forest encouraged citizens to adopt neglected parcels of land and plant trees and other plants on them. Some of these parcels eventually became parks, wildlife centers and woodlands.