Green Trees for the Golden State Seeks to Increase Urban Forests

Bike+New+1Green Trees for the Golden State is a grant program set forth by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The Green Trees program, along with a series of similar grants, provides funding opportunities to establish and increase the urban forest in California’s most impoverished, polluted communities.

Trees serve cities by cooling streets and sidewalks and saving energy, improving air quality, strengthening the quality of place and local economies, reducing storm water runoff, improving social connections, and creating more walkable communities – but you knew that.

Support for urban forest stewardship and development has grown over the last decade, but with incoming funds from the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, AB32, California communities can expect to see more opportunities to support urban forestry for years to come.

The goal of AB32 is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide to 1990 levels by 2020. To help achieve this goal, the California Air Resources Board established a “cap-and-trade” program that limits greenhouse gas emissions from entities responsible for roughly 85 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The new policy is expected to generate billions of dollars in the coming years. The Governor has proposed to allocate those funds towards projects and programs that support a sustainable and resilient state–one of which is the urban forestry program. Specifically, the proposed funding would support local assistance grants for urban and community forestry. These grants are designed to assist environmental justice communities to create or implement projects with a focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Community Health Councils, along with many local organizations, is looking for ways to tap into these funds to support urban forestry programs locally.

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