Let’s dig into Wake County’s tree stats

A new study from details the impact of Wake County’s trees in the area and how we can to grow into an even better and greener county.

Huge trees tower over a field

Wake County had 54.2% tree canopy cover in 2020.

Photo by RALtoday

Wake County released a report dedicated to the area’s tree canopy type and health over the last 10 years. The Land Cover Analysis and Tree Canopy Assessment details Wake County’s tree stats, like carbon absorption and identifies opportunities for growth, both figuratively and literally. Let’s dive into the details of this evergreen report.

Wake County’s tree population works hard to purify our air and water supply. According to the report, our local trees annually remove over 11,000 tons of pollutants from the air, absorb 414,000 tons of carbon dioxide, and soak up 8.1 billion gallons of stormwater, which is equivalent to the amount of water that flows over Niagara Falls in 30 hours.

The report identifies planting opportunities and ways to branch out and expand Wake County’s land cover and tree canopy to help reduce the amount of pollutants in our environment. Some initiatives include planting more trees in prime areas for planting. Learn more about the City of Raleigh’s environmental initiatives.

The county lost 11,000 acres of its canopy between 2010 and 2020, but this study identified over 400,000 individual potential planting areas totaling 80,000 acres across Wake County. Check out this interactive map to learn more about where we can and need to plant trees in our community. For example, areas in west downtown Raleigh have a high priority and need more trees.

The City of Raleigh is planting 1,000 street trees over the next three years in support of Raleigh’s Strategic Plan through Raleigh’s Street Tree Equity Project. These urban forest tree plantings are taking place in January 2024 and January 2025 with over 300 trees planted each time.

Raleigh tree-lovers can volunteer at community events, including litter sweeps, tree plantings, and other environmental service opportunities.

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