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Louisville Makes Plans for City Trees, Hires Urban Forester

Louisville’s tree canopy is slowly increasing, due to private and public investment.Mayor Greg Fischer announced Thursday that waste hauler EcoTech has upped its previous commitment to plant 1,000 trees in Louisville over the next decade.Now, the company plans to plant 1,500 trees.Fischer also announced the hiring of an urban forester for Louisville—Erin Thompson. She will  be responsible for creating a city-wide tree canopy assessment, and will also be involved in planting the trees announced Thursday.Three of those trees will be on 28th Street on the Reynolds Consumer Products property, and the city will plant seven additional trees on the right of way near the property.Louisville’s tree canopy has been severely decimated in recent years, as storms have toppled some of the oldest and largest trees, and invasive insects like the emerald ash borer have killed others. A study by Georgia Tech researchers found that Louisville is heating up faster than any other city in the nation. This urban heat island effect is partially caused by the shrinking tree canopy.There’s $250,000 in Louisville’s Metro budget for new trees this year. Thirty-three were planted at the Urban Government Center earlier this month, and Fischer said the city has plans to plant hundreds more this fall and spring. “We know our tree canopy lacks adequate coverage for a city our size, and in order to increase our tree canopy, we will rely on an assessment to tell us where exactly we should be planting future trees,” said Henry Heuser, co-chair of the Tree Advisory Commission.“We will be looking to the community’s corporate and individual stakeholders to match the city’s $50,000 toward a comprehensive assessment.”

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