Whether swaying in the background of a Super Bowl glamour shot or printed on Art Deco-themed postcards, palm trees are synonymous with the sun-and-fun allure of Miami Beach. In a city with nearly 50,000 trees, more than half have fronds. But due to rising temperatures, that’s about to change.
To help address the consequences of climate change, city leaders will cut back on the number of new palms in the city and add more eco-friendly shade trees to the Beach’s canopy.
Guided by an urban forestry master plan, which the Miami Beach City Commission unanimously approved in October, city officials are working to reduce the concentration of palms to 25% of the total canopy by 2050. The city says the cutback — intended to help reduce urban warming, improve air quality and absorb more carbon and rainwater — will be accomplished during upcoming construction projects that already require the removal of trees, partly by removing some palms but mostly by adding new shade trees.
“Palms, while an iconic part of Miami Beach’s landscape, have moved from being an accent plant to a major component of the city’s urban forest,” the urban forestry master plan reads.