Blog Post By Jona Elwell

World Soil Day: Healthy Soil Means Healthy Trees

World Soil Day (WSD) is held annually on December 5 as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources. This year, by addressing the increasing challenges of soil management, the theme is “Stop soil erosion, Save our future.” The campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being through proactively improving soil health.

What is the state of soil in DC? How is our soil health? Well…soil, and especially healthy soil to establish trees and greenspaces, is having an increasingly tough time in DC. Due to our exploding population and building boom, an increasingly large portion of DC’s land is covered by concrete and asphalt. More hard surfaces means more stormwater runoff, increased pollution and related impacts to the city’s already compromised streams and rivers. It is important to recognize that over 41 percent of the District’s land is covered by impervious surfaces, which exceeds the city’s canopy cover of 38 percent. Think about that – our City of Trees has more roads, buildings and parking lots than trees – and that should concern us all. This is exactly the reason why last year we launched the Save Our Soil campaign to ensure a green, lush future for DC and not a gray, concrete-covered one.


This innovative approach is revolutionizing the way we think about present and future green spaces in the District. Through conservation easements we will be able to ensure green space access now and for generations to come. While they sound complex, a conservation easement is a restriction placed on a piece of land ensuring that it stays undeveloped in perpetuity, protecting trees and other vegetation (which aligns closely with our mission). Once protected by an easement, the land remains undeveloped to support mature trees and other natural amenities, while also providing a green respite for the neighborhoods where the easements are located. We currently have five easements in the District – keeping neighborhood greenspace open and green forever!

With adequate planning, new design resources and creativity, tree canopy post-development can be higher than it was pre-development. Perhaps most important, one thing is very clear: DC residents – whether they have lived in the City for three years or three generations – love their trees and parks. And at Casey Trees, we are committed to ensuring that both are preserved for the very long term.

How You Can Help:

  • Do you own a green space in DC? Work with Casey Trees to create a conservation easement.
  • User or admirer of a certain District green space? Nominate it for a conservation easement.


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