The Real Estate Board of New York to The New York City Council Regarding New York City’s Tree Canopy

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The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) is the City’s leading real estate trade association representing commercial, residential, and institutional property owners, builders, managers, investors, brokers, salespeople, and other organizations and individuals active in New York City real estate. REBNY thanks the New York City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation for the opportunity to provide testimony regarding New York City’s tree canopy, including in our urban forest, on our streets, in landscaped parks and in other natural areas.  


REBNY is proud to be part of a group of organizations that supports the NYC Urban Forest Agenda, a strategic plan to protect, maintain, expand, and promote the urban forest, and build a more resilient and equitable New York City. REBNY believes all New Yorkers have a responsibility to support the NYC urban forest, which plays an important role in promoting our shared goals of advancing public health, protecting our environment, and improving New York City’s streets, parks, and private and public spaces. 


As the real estate industry aims to lead our city in fostering a new era of sustainability, the built world too will ultimately benefit from a stronger urban forest. Along with the general benefits that trees bring to our streetscapes, the cooling benefits of significant tree cover and the ability of the urban forest to remove carbon from the atmosphere will ultimately lead to a healthier city. In addition, the effects of climate change can be offset by a healthy urban ecosystem, leading to a more resilient environment in extreme weather scenarios, protecting New Yorkers who currently face devastating effects from environmental disaster. This is dependent on our prioritization of the existing and future urban canopy and investment therein. The establishment of a citywide goal of 30% tree canopy cover by 2035, a key recommendation of the NYC Urban Forest Agenda, would prioritize investment in the urban canopy to achieve this benefit.


REBNY strongly supports this Committee’s efforts to bring additional attention and oversight – and where possible, funding - to ensure continuous improvement of the City’s tree canopy. We also commend Chair Krishnan’s leadership in prioritizing our parks overall. REBNY and its members stand ready in continued support of these efforts and initiatives. 


Thank you for your consideration on these points.