The climate change crisis is affecting everything in our world, even the trees we see! One city, Miami Beach, is making an effort to combat their contributions to this issue by changing the iconic palm trees that line the streets. They plan to replace the plants with more shade-sharing species which would offer better relief to rising temperatures. Of course, palms will not be entirely lost to those on the peninsula state.
The Miami Herald reported that Miami Beach’s Urban Forestry Master Plan (UFMP) was approved by every member of the City Commission in October of 2020. According to Elizabeth Wheaton, the Miami Beach Director of Environment & Sustainability, palms will always have a place on the Florida shores.
"Palms will continue to be a focal point along our beaches, roads, parks, and green spaces," she said. "However, the number of shade trees will be increased to make our city more resilient, walkable, and pleasant."
In order for these goals to be reached, 22 percent of the city needs to be covered by the canopy of trees within the next 20 years, up 5 percent from the current count. In 2018, the citizens of Miami Beach voted to spend nearly $5 million in planting an additional 5,000 trees over the course of the next five years. By 2050, the city's trees will ideally be 25 percent palms, not the current 57 percent.
These trees could help save the city!