We are losing trees and open space at a dramatic rate. According to the latest study of Mecklenburg County just completed by American Forests, Inc., between 1985 and 2008 we lost 33% of tree canopy, 2.8% of our open space, and increased our urban/impervious area (roads, parking lots, buildings) by 60%. Lost air quality benefits resulting from this land cover change is $8,771,658.00 annually. Lost greenhouse gas stored in trees is 192 million tons. Lost greenhouse gas removal per year is 1.5 million tons. Increased costs to manage stormwater resulting from this change is $503,578,789.00.
The loss of natural area and trees coupled with large increases in impervious surfaces amounts to unsustainable growth and our environment will continue to degrade if we do not act.