AUSTIN -- A list of the 10 Best U.S. Cities for UrbanForests now includes Austin.

American Forests released its list after looking at the ecosystems of trees and other vegetation in and around communities that may consist of street and yard trees, vegetation within parks and along public rights of way and water systems. Urban forests provide communities with environmental, economic and social benefits and habitat for fish and wildlife.

Other cities included on the list:

  • Charlotte
  • Denver
  • Milwaukee
  • Minneapolis
  • New York
  • Portland
  • Sacramento
  • Seattle
  • Washington, D.C.

AmericanForests says the project is funded by the U.S.Forest Service. Experts found that the cities on the list, including Austin, appear to be investing in the wellness of their urban forests, as well as maintaining environmental resources in the city.

Experts say the City of Austin has proved that it realizes how important trees are - especially when they increase property value, reduce energy costs, provide aesthetic value and improve overall health.

Eighteen percent of Austin is made up of parks. There are 36 acres of park space per 1,000 residents. Experts sayAustin has 150 different species making up 30 percent of its street trees.

Last year Austin created its Urban Forest Management Plan, which city leaders say they will review and improve every five years.

Many cities across the U.S. are doing great work to care for their urban forests, says American Forests CEO and member of the judging panel Scott Steen. Austin exemplifies the type of dedication and leadership needed to improve the health and vitality of urban forests. The city has built strong plans around climate change, green infrastructure, sustainability and urban forests to help maintain Austin as a healthy place to live.

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