A Circle of Forest in the City in a Forest

Planting Trees

Typically when you think urban, you think of concrete, asphalt, iron, glass, stone — lots of hardscape and not-so-many trees. Rarely do you think of any metropolitan space as a green oasis, but Atlanta has long held a unique position in large metropolitan areas as the “City in a Forest” due to it’s abundance of trees.

National Geographic recently gushed:

For a sprawling city with the nation’s ninth-largest metro area, Atlanta is surprisingly lush with trees—magnolias, dogwoods, Southern pines, and magnificent oaks.

That lush canopy has been in rapid decline for the past few decades due to drought, invasive species, new pests, rising summer temperatures and urban construction. At one time Atlanta was described as the fastest growing human settlement the planet had ever seen. One cost for this growth has been up to 50 acres per day of tree loss.

Atlanta BeltLine ArboretumTrees Atlanta has been a local hero in reversing this trend. It has been said that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. Trees Atlanta starting planting trees over twenty years ago and has recently passed the 100,000 mark.  In 2008, they started one of their most ambitious urban reforestation projects with the BeltLine Arboretum. 20 years from now this project will give the city a circle of forest when the 22 mile loop is completed. They have already planted over 600 trees on the Eastside Trail, and a good number on the Westside Trail, as well. The Arboretum helps redefine city development with the question “why can’t trees be an integral part of upgrading a city?”

Trees Atlanta is showing a commitment to sustainable stewardship and innovative solutions while they do this in the following ways:

  • Deploying municipal shepherds with herds of goats and sheep to combat kudzu and other invasive plants.

  • Establishing rainwater harvesting systems along the corridor, capturing and storing the stormwater from the roofs of nearby buildings for later use in watering the trees and landscaping.

  • Establishing low-maintenance, carbon neutral meadows in the corridor instead of stretches of lawn that require mowing.

“Emerald Necklace” is a metaphor that has never found purchase, probably because Boston already has claims to it. But the aspirations of the BeltLine and companion projects like the Arboretum are so lofty in establishing a greener Atlanta that “Emerald Crown” or even “Emerald Halo” might be a better descriptor.

See, now I’m gushing.

For more in depth information about the BeltLine Arboretum, please visit here or sign up for a Arboretum tour with Trees Atlanta here.

About Burke Sisco

Burke Sisco is an Associate Broker of First United Realty with 20 years of experience in the Atlanta real estate market. He calls the surging infra-culture around the BeltLine both home and business territory and is the founder and managing editor of BeltLandia.com. He has helped a number of satisfied clients buy and sell property in BeltLandia. Those interested in living the BeltLandia Lifestyle can reach Burke at 404.421.9968 or by email at burke@burkesisco.com.

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