Syracuse plans to turn down city heat by planting 70,000 trees

By Glenn Coin | gcoin@syracuse.com

Syracuse, N.Y. – Syracuse is trying to ease the impacts of two of the nation’s biggest problems – income inequality and climate change – through a simple idea: Planting trees.

Lots of trees.

The city today is releasing an ambitious urban forestry master plan that calls for planting 70,000 trees over 20 years. That would increase the land area covered by tree leaves by more than 1,600 acres, resulting in a third of the city draped in shade.

“Urban forests are our first line of defense in a hotter, more unpredictable climate,” says the city’s draft plan. “They function as an outdoor air conditioner and filter, water control system, wind barrier, anger and mood management program, beautification initiative, and even sunblock.”

Syracuse and New York state are getting warmer. A Syracuse.com review of climate data shows the city’s normal temperature is 1 degree higher than it was from the 1950s through the 1970s. A 2015 study by several New York state agencies said New York state has warmed 2.4 degrees since 1970.

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