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Urban Forestry: Green Initiatives

Dallas Urban Forest and SMU The Urban Forestry initiative was started to support the maintenance and cultivation of trees in urban areas in the North Central Texas region. Urban Forests not only provide a canopy to facilitate pedestrian activity in residential areas, but help mediate temperatures in warmer climates and provide habitat for wildlife. The goal of this initiative is to educate local governments on the benefits of Urban Forestry.

Some of the benefits of Urban Forests include:


  • Reduction of the Urban Heat Island Effect through evapo-transpiration.
  • Reduce erosion and storm water runoff.
  • Reduce electric costs of adjacent development by shading windows and access points.
  • Provides connectivity along pedestrian pathways between destinations.

The most effective type of vegetation used in urban forestry projects is largely dependent on the type of infrastructure and development around it. Trees with large extensive root systems may not be appropriate near underground sewage systems or along sidewalks because they can rupture pipes and cause sidewalk cracking and buckling. Tree species, such as Crape Myrtles, may be appropriate along major roadways or areas where limited funds are available for maintenance. Native vegetation, however, is always the best option for Urban Forestry because limited maintenance costs and damages caused by invasive species.


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