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The Dallas City Council this week unanimously adopted the city’s first urban forest master plan, with 14 recommendations for a unified approach to build a resilient and equitable urban forest. They include ensuring city regulations support tree canopy preservation and growth, maximizing investment in urban forest programs and management, and creating a city storm response and recovery plan. Improved air quality and reduced temperatures are among the most sought-after benefits.
The plan, which the nonprofit Texas Trees Foundation created, notes that Dallas is already the nation’s ninth-most-populous city and is poised for further development. That development threatens to remove tree cover from Dallas’ southern neighborhoods, which could create new heat island effects that affect a significant number of economically and medically vulnerable residents, the authors wrote.
A key impetus for this plan was an earlier heat island management study by the foundation that found Dallas is heating up faster than every other U.S. city except for Phoenix, said Rachel McGregor, urban forestry manager at Texas Trees Foundation. The report cites data indicating that by 2050, Dallas could have 30 to 60 additional days over 100 degrees F per year.