Love of trees in the District seems to be at a high point:
In 1971, Congress cut Washington's appropriation for tree planting from $60,000 to $5,000. A year later, one observer estimated that the city was suffering a net loss of 1,700 trees a year. Another put the figure closer to 3,500. The arboreal neglect continued into the '80s and '90s. The City of Trees -- the leafy nickname the District had earned in the 19th century -- was in danger of becoming the City of Stumps.
But Washington's trees have weathered many ups and downs, surviving alternating cycles of affection and neglect. Answer Man is happy to say we seem to be at a high point in our tree love. Future generations will decide whether we kept it up.
Last week, Answer Man traced the roots of Washington's urban forest. This week, he looks at the green buds of future growth. Here's the math: About 35 percent of the District is covered with forest canopy. The goal is to increase it to 40 percent by 2035, a feat that will require planting 8,600 trees a year. The goal is both aesthetic and environmental: Trees help keep pollutants from reaching our streams, rivers and bays.