Mayor Sadiq Khan wants to turn the tide, putting 1.5 million pounds ($1.9 million) into a woodland fund for London.
“Much-loved green spaces boost our environment and enhance our quality of life,” Khan said in a statement on Thursday.
Home to The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe, London has transformed in recent decades amid frenetic development and overseas investment. Its once demure profile is now punctuated with eye-catching skyscrapers.
“London has some great green spaces already but most of these were established in the 19th century and what is now needed is a massive effort to create new urban parks,” said Michael Batty, a professor at University College London.
“But the cost of land means that this vision is often thwarted,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Trees in cities reduce pollution, store carbon and protect people in heatwaves, saving megacities more than $500 million a year in healthcare, energy costs and environmental protection, according to research.
With one in 10 people predicted to live in cities of more than 10 million by 2030, urban forests can make these spaces healthier, say experts.
London’s population has also swelled in recent years and the city of about 8.8 million is expected to rise to 10.8 million by 2041, pushing the city to grow upwards.
($1 = 0.7854 pounds)