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Who Speaks for Chicago’s Trees? Aldermen to Propose New Urban Forest Advisory Board

Patty Wetli | July 22, 2020 7:07 am
Chicago’s urban tree canopy is as vital a piece of infrastructure as the city’s roads and sewers, which is why a trio of aldermen is proposing the creation of an Urban Forestry Advisory Board to develop a cohesive management strategy for this valuable resource.
Alds. Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward), George Cardenas (12th Ward) and Samantha Nugent (39th Ward) are introducing an ordinance at Wednesday’s meeting of the Chicago City Council, which would amend the Municipal Code to allow for the establishment of the advisory board.
The city’s motto is “Urbs in Horto” (City in a Garden), and “we don’t really reach to that height,” said Waguespack.
Pests (particularly the emerald ash borer), disease and neglect have cost the city an untold number of trees in recent years, diminishing Chicago’s canopy at a time when climate change would call for the opposite — the increased shade, stormwater absorption and carbon storage that a robust canopy would provide. Trees are also a tool that can be used to improve air quality, which has become of paramount concern during a respiratory pandemic.

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