Tree Vitalize Publishes Extensive Study Analyzing Urban Forest Diversity Across 63 U.S. Cities

More than 5 million trees with detailed city-by-city breakdowns for places such as Atlanta, Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and more

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Tree Vitalize, a leading online resource in tree care and education, announced the release of an unparalleled study examining the species diversity and tree population in urban forests across 63 U.S. cities. The study presents groundbreaking data and insights that could revolutionize urban forestry management and policymaking. Devoted horticulturist-in-training and Tree Vitalize founder Fern Berg led the research, utilizing a dataset of over 5 million trees to understand the current state and future needs of urban forestry.

“This research isn’t just a gathering of numbers,” said Berg. “It’s a call to action for urban planners, government bodies, and community members to recognize the crucial role that urban forests play in our collective well-being.”

Tree Diversity: Critical Insights for the Future

Among the key findings are the startling decline in urban tree cover and the rise in impervious surfaces, emphasizing the urgent need for a dynamic approach to managing urban forests. The study also sheds light on the essential role of government incentives and regulations in influencing private tree planting and management efforts – while stressing the importance of species diversity in maintaining robust urban forests.

With low diversity making forests more susceptible to pests and diseases, the data provides a compelling argument for diversifying tree species in all urban areas. “Our data revealed that a city like Worcester, with an effective number of species count of just 6.43, is drastically more vulnerable to environmental challenges compared to Seattle, which boasts a diversity score of 108.81,” Berg elaborated.

Surprising Findings: London Planetree Reigns Supreme

Among the 5 million trees cataloged, the London planetree (Platanus acerifolia) appeared most frequently (4.20%), spotlighting it as a potential focal point for future urban planting initiatives. This species’ ability to adapt to urban conditions and filter air pollution, while also being an attractive ornamental plant, has made it one of the world’s most reliable city trees. Other species from the top ten list include:

  • Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) – 4.06%
  • Norway maple (Acer platanoides) – 4.04%
  • Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) – 3.20%
  • Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) – 3.09%
  • Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) – 3.01%
  • Red maple (Acer rubrum) – 2.71%
  • American sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) – 2.15%
  • Littleleaf linden (Tilia cordata) – 2.06%
  • Live oak (Quercus virginiana) – 2.01%

Financial Implications and Policy Recommendations

While the study includes an entire arbor full of data, it also outlines pragmatic steps for urban forestry management, suggesting that even small shifts in policy could yield significant benefits.

“Understanding the composition of our urban forests is the first step toward more sustainable cities,” said Berg. “And though we’re happy to provide the information, it’s up to all of us to act on this data and make a difference. We hope policymakers and communities alike will find this study a critical tool for change.”

Go online to read the full study, complete with vibrant charts and convenient data breakdowns, along with other info like species diversity, distribution numbers, and the complete list of the top 50 most common trees in each city.

About Tree Vitalize

Founded with a deep-rooted commitment to biodynamic farming and sustainable agriculture, Tree Vitalize aims to be an essential resource for tree enthusiasts. Offering guidance from a dedicated team of contributing arborists, environmental scientists, and arboriculturists with info from tree planting, identification, and care, Tree Vitalize is an advocate for the health and diversity of urban forests and woods across the United States. Learn more at:

Media Contact:

Fern Berg

SOURCE Tree Vitalize