In recognition of the growing loss of trees in greater Boston’s urban canopy, the Justine Mee Liff Fund, a major endowment for parks restoration and maintenance, has announced the launch of the Olmsted Tree Society, an initiative to raise $1 million to replace damaged trees and plant new ones in more than 1,100 acres of public land in the Emerald Necklace park system.
The society was created to mark the tenth anniversary of the Liff Fund. The tree fund marks the first time the endowment will underwrite a broad effort with funding allocated across the Emerald Necklace parks and parkways. Trees in the Necklace need help and the new funding initiative will ensure that they get it.
The Liff Fund committee will invite sponsors including foundations, corporations, institutions, community-based organizations and private citizens to join the Olmsted Tree Society; their contributions support work that will focus on the completion of a detailed tree inventory; the development of a comprehensive master plan; and a targeted planting and management program. Society funding will also help educate citizens about the critical role trees play in enhancing and protecting the urban environment.
The launch of the Olmsted Tree Society comes at a critical juncture for the city. A study earlier this year by the U.S. Forest Service found that Boston experienced a net loss of an estimated 1.2 million trees between 2003 and 2008. During the same period, roads, sidewalks and other impermeable surfaces in Boston increased by nearly two percent, reducing the land mass available for trees. Boston has only 28 percent tree cover, significantly less than the national average of 35 percent in other urban areas.