City and bank embark on project to create an urban forest

The Municipalidad de San José and Banco Nacional have kicked off a project to plant 50,000 trees of native species in the city over the next five years. And the plan is that bank customers will purchase trees for planting.

Mayor Araya wiedles shovel to fill in around root ball. Photo: Municipalidad de San José

Mayor Johnny Araya was among a group that planted the first tree on the east side of the Correos de Costa Rica headquarters Wednesday.

In a joint press release, the bank and the city outlined what is being called the foresta urbana or “urban forest.” Araya has been promoting what he called the repopulation of the city center.

The trees are being called the lungs of the city that will reduce carbon dioxide and cool the air.

The municipality is putting in the first 3 million colons, about $6,000. It also will promote the project.

The bank is putting a link on its Web page so that customers can purchase one or more trees. Large companies also have been solicited. Coca Cola FEMSA, the bottling firm and Yanber S.A., the plastics company, already have accepted, the release said.

The trees will be planted in three types of locations. The first is along the streets and sidewalks. They also will be planted in parks and also in protected areas along rivers and other waterways. Bushes also may be planted.

In addition to hardwood native species, palms will be planted, said the bank and the city.

The trees are not cheap. Planting one along a city street will cost a bank customer 30,000 colons or about $60. Trees in parks will cost 19,500 colons each, about $39. In the protected areas, the trees will cost 12,500 colons or about $25.

Banco Nacional will pay for the first 100. Initially the plantings will be in the central districts and then include other areas, the release said.

The release noted that passenger cars in the city may produce a ton of carbon dioxide a day. Some trees do well in city locations because they like carbon dioxide. Plants convert it to oxygen and cellular matter.

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