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Cambridge earns 'Tree City of the World' designation for third consecutive year

City hosting its annual tree giveaway later this month for residents who register for a free tree now
Forestry Technician Kristen Grittani greets residents during the city's 2022 tree giveaway.

The City of Cambridge has earned the 2023 Tree City of the World designation for the third consecutive year.

The designation comes as the city plans to hand out  400 trees to residents later this month as part of a bi-annual program to grow the tree canopy.

“We’re proud to once again be recognized along with other cities around the world for our commitment to building a healthy city by maintaining and celebrating our urban forests,” said Mayor Jan Liggett in a press release.

“Trees are an important part of our citys infrastructure and provide a myriad of benefits including energy reduction, stormwater management, erosion control and contribute to our overall health.  As we struggle through and try to balance the impacts of development with the needs of our community, we are grateful for those in our community who continue to plant new trees on their property and take care of the health of those currently there.”

Cambridge earned the recognition by meeting five core standards that demonstrate dedication and determination towards planting and conserving trees for a greener future.

These standards were achieved through actions that also support the city’s 2020-23 Strategic Plan - Cambridge Connected, and the goal to protect, enhance and steward environmental areas while combating climate change.

Initiatives include, the creation of the Urban Forest Plan (2015-2035), current street tree and other inventories, performance indicators and monitoring reports, tree planting and giveaways, tree policies and bylaws, annual budgets, and resources.

The city’s tree giveaway is planned for Saturday, April 27.

Residents can register for a free tree beginning Wednesday, April 10 at 9 a.m.

Tree Cities of the World is a program founded by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Their aim is to create and inspire cities and towns around the world to create more green spaces in urban areas by recognizing the cities that do it well.

Through this recognition, Cambridge joins 200 cities from 22 countries who recognize the importance of trees in building healthy, resilient and happy cities.

As part of the Urban Forest Plan, the city’s canopy target is 30 per cent and involves planting thousands of trees over the next 20 years.

In addition to the many health benefits, trees contribute to property values, rainwater retention, cooling of the city/energy efficiency, and carbon capture providing $3-$12 million each year in “ecosystem services” to Cambridge.

Cambridge is divided into 38 neighbourhoods for the Urban Forest Plan / Canopy Assessment.  Tree canopies range from 5 per cent to 9 per cent in a new subdivision and central industrial area to 35 to 45 per cent in older residential neighbourhoods with mature trees.