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City and County of Honolulu named Tree City USA for 40th year

O‘AHU -- The City and County of Honolulu is proud to announce the Arbor Day Foundation has awarded the City with the 2020 Tree City USA designation, recognizing our commitment to urban forest management.

This is the 40th year the City has received this distinction through the efforts of our Department of Parks and Recreation Division of Urban Forestry (DUF), park staff, and those who are dedicated to preserving our trees.

"The trees planted and maintained by the Division of Urban Forestry add quality to the lives of our residents and future generations," said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. "In honor of receiving this award, today we have raised the Tree City USA flag at the Fasi Municipal Building. We recognize trees add beauty and have so many benefits to our communities and we are committed to investing in our urban forest."

Trees help mitigate the impacts of climate change by sequestering and storing carbon, filtering the air we breathe, providing shade and relief from increasingly hot summers, and intercepting storm water runoff before it enters the ocean. Trees also help to reinforce a sense of community and provide other mental and social benefits.

For decades, DUF has worked to grow, maintain, and preserve the City trees on our streets and in our parks. For every $1 spent on tree planting and care, our trees provide $3 in benefits. As the only piece of City infrastructure that appreciates in value over time, we must recognize the benefit that an abundant and thriving tree population has for our community now more than ever.

However, DUF receives more requests for street tree removals than for plantings and much of our canopy cover is being lost through actions taken by homeowners and private landowners. In fact, the most recent assessment determined that we have been losing tree canopy cover by almost five percent as a result of thousands of these individual removals across our neighborhoods. These factors contribute to the growing need for stewardship of trees in our everyday spaces, and the need to shift our mindset of how we view trees. The benefit of trees may not be fully realized the day they are planted, but will be experienced as they grow and mature.

Tree City USA is an Arbor Day Foundation program, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, that is a nationwide movement with thousands of communities committed to managing and expanding their public trees.

If you need an auxiliary aid/service, other accommodations due to a disability, or an interpreter for a language other than English in reference to this announcement, please contact the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation at (808) 768-3003 on weekdays from 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. or email

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