Tree canopy is the layer of leaves, branches and tree stems that covers the ground when viewed from above.
The current average tree canopy coverage for the city is 38 percent, down from 50 percent in 1950. Despite this decline, research continues to prove how important trees are to our neighborhoods and communities.
Since the inception of Casey Trees in 2002, D.C.’s tree canopy has been steadily increasing. In fact, this year’s canopy analysis confirms that the 80,000 trees planted city-wide over the past 15 years are starting to get big. And just as important, thousands of large trees protected by the city’s tree laws keep growing. The young trees in particular — which will live for many more decades — along with thousands of others soon to be planted, will help us inch our way toward the city’s 40 percent canopy goal.
Despite the progress, a growing threat – noted in this year’s Tree Report Card – persists: an increasingly large portion of D.C.’s land is covered by concrete and asphalt. With a growing population and the need for more housing, this trend will only continue. More hard surfaces means more stormwater runoff, increased pollution and related impacts to the city’s already compromised streams and rivers.
With help from our partners and engaged citizen foresters like you, we can re-grow our urban forest. Take a class, volunteer or nominate a conservation easement and help us restore, enhance and protect the City of Trees.