"Not only do rich people have more trees than poor people, they have a lot more trees than poor people," environmental writer Tim De Chant is quoted as saying in Gauge of neighborhood wealth? Look to the trees, an article published Sept. 9 by the Contra Costa Times.
De Chant published an article, "Urban trees reveal income inequality," last May on his Per Square Mile website that recapped research showing a relationship between per capita income and tree cover. The study found that "for every 1 percent increase in per capita income, demand for forest cover increased by 1.76 percent."
But his website really took off several days later when De Chant published satellite imagery from Google Earth that showed tree cover in paired, neighboring communities — one poor, one affluent — around the world. Among the pairs: Piedmont and West Oakland. The contrast in leafiness is startling. You can see the photos with De Chant's article "Income inequality, as seen from space."
De Chant says the researchers cited in his original article suggest that "wealthier cities can afford more trees, both on private and public property. The well-to-do can afford larger lots, which in turn can support more trees. On the public side, cities with larger tax bases can afford to plant and maintain more trees."
According to the Contra Costa Times article, the U.S. Forest Service ranks Piedmont, Ross, Portola Valley and Woodside as the Bay Area communities with "excellent" levels of tree cover.
A number of nonprofit groups are working to plant more trees in less affluent Bay Area communities, the Times article says. You may read the complete article here.
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