NYC Parks Releases ‘Our Urban Forest’ Storymap




NYC Parks today announced the completion of a brand-new StoryMaphighlighting the City’s trees, canopy, and forestry maintenance titled “Our Urban Forest.” Through the StoryMap, Parks has compiled the most comprehensive look at the City’s urban forest to date, complete with information on the city’s process for caring for trees; contextual data on thecoverage and expansion of the City’s urban canopy; and additional information on tree services requests, inspections, and more. 

Did you know that each year trees in NYC remove 1,100 tons of air pollution valued at $78 million? Image credit: NYC Parks Department

In tandem with the release of “Our Urban Forest,” Parks is relaunching its Medium platform with a detailed post from NYC Parks Deputy Chief of Data Systems & Analytics Uma Bhandaram, titled “Our Urban Forest StoryMap: How we Tell the Complete Story of our Tree Canopy.” In the post, Chief Bhandaramgives a behind-the-scenes look at this database, lending an expert voice to describe the rationale and process for the creation of the story map.

“Through our new StoryMap, we’re giving New Yorkers a behind-the-scenes look into our vast urban forest, and sharing, in depth, the steps we’re taking to make it the most resilient in the nation,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “We will continue to prioritize, protect, and work to expand our city’s urban forest, and I invite all New Yorkers to visit the new StoryMap, learn about the city’s natural canopy, and do their part to help keep our city’s trees happy and healthy.”

Image courtesy NYC Parks Department

With the release of “Our Urban Forest,” Parks’ main goal is to educate the public on the importance of the City’s urban forest and the tree services provided by the department. Incorporating multiple different datasets on street trees, park trees, existing canopy, canopy change over time, and tree services, the story map looks to answer several important questions for New Yorkersabout their trees: why they are important, where they grow, how they change over time, how they are cared for, and how the public can get involved.

The story map follows the December 2022 release of the NYC Tree Map— a first-of-its-kind living tree map showcasing nearly one million individually managed City trees. The NYC Tree Map includes newly mapped, in-park trees that have unique IDs, species information, and maintenance status, allowing New Yorkers to digitally interact with all 800,000+ landscaped park and street trees in real time. 

Image courtesy NYC Parks Department

NYC Parks actively cares for more than 800,000 mapped trees—650,000 street trees and more than 150,000 trees in parks—across the city. Parks’ tree planting program recently celebrated a milestone season with more than 13,000 trees planted citywide in fiscal year 2022, more than planted in the past five fiscal years. Parks is also furthering its commitment to increasing equitable planting and targeting plantings in areas that need trees most with a $112 million allocation from the Adams administration. For more information, please see NYC Parks’ recent release on tree planting efforts.   

Take a look at more NYC Parks Department Projects & Programs like the removal of abandoned vessels littering Sheepshead Bay, the NYC Parks Department’s Monuments Conservation Program, Creation of eight new Pollinator Place Gardens, Urban Park Rangers to the rescue, Preserving Old Gravesend Cemetery, Reinterring remains of early New Yorkers from Washington Square Park + much much more.