The importance of urban trees

The trees planted along Jersey City’s sidewalks and within our parks play an important role: they are living elements of our urban infrastructure. They provide cooling shade, cleaner air, carbon capture, and water filtration. Trees soak up stormwater after rain events, helping reduce localized flooding. They also reduce the phenomenon known as urban heat island effect. And for many people, trees enhance the beauty of urban streetscapes.

The City of Jersey City recognizes the many benefits of street trees and is currently working to expand and improve the health of its tree canopy. This effort involves creating a detailed assessment of what currently exists, establishing an adequate and sustainable tree maintenance and planting program that meets increased canopy cover goals, and quantifying the benefits of increased tree coverage.

Jersey City Municipal Tree Mapping Project

In order to better manage its urban tree canopy, the City of Jersey City has partnered with local university partners in a multi-year effort to accurately register, track, and map the City’s trees.

Science-based and community-engaged tree mapping

Jersey City’s tree mapping efforts began in the spring of 2019 as a collaborative project with NJCU and the Jersey City Office of Sustainability and Divisions of Forestry, Planning, and Architecture. The goal was to produce consistent, accurate, science-based, City-managed data that could be utilized by the various municipal divisions. Over the course of the summer of 2019, students logged and mapped the trees in Ward A using Leico Zeno GPS trackers, measuring tape, ArcGIS, and City mapping protocols.

To continue the success of the 2019 effort, the City applied for a 2020 Summer Green Team through Montclair State University PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies. During the summer of 2020 City staff worked with the Green Team as well as NJCU to continue the 2019 mapping into Ward B and Ward F. In addition to utilizing the same methodology and equipment as was used to log and map trees in 2019, the 2020 Green Team also used an Infrared Gas Analyzer (IRGA) to generate estimates of carbon sequestration by the city’s trees. The Green Team created a public dashboard to showcase the canopy map and tree data. This project will continue in 2020 and 2021.


Jersey City Tree Canopy Dashboard

The dashboard below provides more information about the trees that the City has mapped so far. This dashboard will be updated as more more neighborhoods are mapped.