As a poster child for the climate emergency, Miami Beach has become a world leader in mitigating the effects of sea-level rise. Now the subtropical Florida city is cutting back on its famous swaying palm trees as it seeks shadier alternatives to preserve its environment and try to keep residents and visitors cool. Officials have embarked on a 30-year plan to reduce the percentage of palm trees in the city to only one quarter of its total canopy by 2050, according to the Miami Herald . Currently, Arecaceae palms account for more than 55% of the city’s population of 48,900 trees. The cutback is needed, the newspaper says, to reduce urban warming and improve air quality, and about 1,000 palm trees will be removed in the coming weeks as part of already scheduled construction projects. But Elizabeth Wheaton, the environmental and sustainability director for Miami Beach, said there was no plan for any mass chopping down of palms, which have been a staple of postcards and travel brochures depicting Miami for generations. Instead, the percentage reduction will be largely achieved by planting about 1,300 new shade trees instead of palms over the next two decades, which she said would […]


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