Sacramento is handing out free trees to residents in an effort to battle global climate change and reduce residents’ electricity bills, The Washington Post reports.

Turns out, that kind of project is rather rare.

Sacramento has doled out 375,000 trees to residents and has plans to give 4 million more, the Post’s Blaine Harden reported Monday.

Most American cities have shrinking tree canopies in relation to their growth. That’s because of inadequate budgets to maintain older trees and a failure to plant shade trees in new residential and commercial developments, according to federal experts, tree-planting organizations and scholars of urban ecology.

A number of major cities have launched sizable tree-planting programs – including Washington, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles. Still, the decline in tree cover has been accelerating since the 1970s, especially on private property and new development, according to American Forests, an environmental group in Washington that uses satellite imagery to document tree cover across the country.

“This is like a creeping cancer,” said Deborah Gangloff, the group’s executive director. “In the two dozen cities we have studied, we have noticed about a 25 percent decline in tree canopy cover over the past 30 years. This is a dramatic trend that is costing cities billions of dollars.”

And no, this doesn’t have a San Diego angle (though my editor wishes it did.) I just thought it was interesting.

ROB DAVIS

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