The Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will vie for the 2014 Super Bowl title in this year’s game. The two teams are each respectively the top in their conference. Seattle’s strong defense against Denver’s top offense isn’t the only match up worthy of consideration. Both cities were recognized in American Forests 2013 10 Best Cities for Urban Forests. With restless anticipation looming in the air for the Feb. 2 showdown, we examine Seattle’s and Denver’s urban forests in a matchup of our own.
With a population of more than 600,000, the mile high city offers more than just scenic landscapes. Denver’s urban forest shades nearly 20% of the city with 2.2 million trees. So how do these trees benefit city dwellers? Well for starters, Denver’s park systems increased property value by $31 million. More trees also mean greater energy savings, equivalent to more than $6.7 million annually.
A survey of 600 Denver residents revealed that Denver’s parks contributed $65 million in health savings by increasing physical activity and lowering medical expenses.
Let’s see how Seattle stacks up. Like Denver, Seattle has a population of more than 600,000. Seattle is home to more than 4 million trees with 23% tree canopy coverage. Not only is Seattle doing a superb job of maintaining its community forest, but they continually strive to improve, with a goal to reach 30% tree canopy coverage by the year 2037. Not to mention, the city’s tree canopy reduces energy usage by $6 million annually.
The overall benefit of Seattle’s trees is such that their replacement value is estimated at $5 billion. That’s a significant sum.
Seattle has also received Tree City USA designation for 28 years, and has been awarded the Tree City USA Growth Award 17 times. In addition, Seattle City Light —the city’s foremost public utility company providing electrical power to the city— has been recognized as a 2013 Tree Line USA Utility.
Any city that prides itself on its community forestry efforts is worth celebrating. We admire what Seattle and Denver are doing both on the field, and off. Which city do you think earns the title in our first annual Urban Forestry Match Up?