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Biden administration releases $1 billion in funding for urban trees

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Your neighborhood or a neighborhood near you may soon be getting more trees because the Biden administration allocated more than $1 billion to plant trees in all 50 states to help with extreme heat and air quality. Turns out not everybody is a fan of trees, though. Andrew Rabb runs the Parks and Recreation department in Buffalo, N.Y.

ANDREW RABB: People have a negative feeling about trees. Oh, they just drop branches. Or they're growing into my house. Or they just are in the way for me to park my car or something like that.

INSKEEP: Rabb plans to use some of his city's money to teach people about the benefits of trees.

RABB: How we're looking to use these funds is not just to plant trees because you can stick a tree in the ground. But trees are long-term commitments. It's really to also increase awareness and desire to have additional trees in people's neighborhoods.

INSKEEP: And for the residents of Buffalo who already love trees, there's a hotline.

RABB: If people do want a tree in front of their house, we will plant a tree. Right now, anybody in Buffalo, any resident in Buffalo can call 311 and request a tree.

INSKEEP: In Los Angeles, the not-for-profit group TreePeople is also working with local communities. The senior director of forestry, Marcos Trinidad, says that a lot of consideration goes into what type of tree is planted.

MARCOS TRINIDAD: We make sure that we're not planting trees that are going to grow 60 feet tall if there are overhead lines, if you only have a 4-foot parkway, we look at a set of tree species that will not grow large or are not known to have intrusive roots that are going to uplift the sidewalks.

INSKEEP: If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be? If you were a space for a tree, what kind of space would you be? In any case, he says, urban forestry matters to the planet.

TRINIDAD: We're planting these trees as if our lives depend on it.

(SOUNDBITE OF TEO'S "ORANGE TREE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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