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City of Auburn launching urban forestry initiative

The city of Auburn is taking steps to preserve and protect its trees.

Auburn tree quantity and quality are on the decline

Dr. Walt Aikman recently made a presentation to the Auburn City Council outlining an urban forestry plan. Aikman says there’s been a noticeable reduction in the city’s tree cover since 2005. He says the city’s trees are dominated by just a few species that are declining in health and vigor.

According to Aikman’s presentation, the city must take a new look at how it prioritizes and targets tree care, how it tracks the health of its trees, and how it tackles invasive species. He says that will require funding a more robust urban forestry program.

Aikman says the percentage of the city covered by a tree canopy has dropped from over 32.5% in 2013, to under 29% by 2018. Aikman helped found a group called “Grow Auburn’s Trees” in 2002. He says since then, Auburn has lost about 1,200 ash trees and about 1,500 trees overall. His plan calls for planting 350 new trees per year at a cost of about $145,745.

Related: New York works to battle hogweed, the spotted lanternfly, and beech tree disease as many invasive species spread rapidly

Equal Rights Heritage Center hosting forest art show

As part of Auburn’s First Friday program this week, the Equal Rights Heritage Center will host an Auburn Community Forest Art Show, featuring a variety of tree art. The show is Friday from 5-7 p.m.

Two boys at play under the Cayuga Museum’s Ginkgo, by Arthur Hutchinson

We’ll talk with Dr. Walt Aikman about his urban forest plan in an upcoming edition of Inside the FLX.

Related: Auburn Community Forest Art Show exhibit opening