Trees provide big savings for every dollar invested by increasing property values, saving energy

Apr 30, 2010
Trees beautify a neighborhood, increasing property values and creating a more sociable environment. Credit: USDA Forest Service, Center for Urban Forest Research

Trees can provide beauty and shade in urban areas, but they also can improve air quality, conserve energy, reduce carbon emissions, and filter storm water. A new publication released by the Pacific Southwest (PSW) Research Station/USDA Forest Service can help residents along the northern California coast to calculate these benefits.

The "Northern California Coast Community Tree Guide: Benefits, Costs, and Strategic Planting," is the latest in a series of Forest Service publications that help people to quantify the tangible and intangible benefits of urban forests. It is a joint product of the station's Center for Urban Forest Research and the University of California, Davis.

"The northern California coast, which includes the area between Brookings, Ore., and San Luis Obispo, Calif., accounts for the largest proportion of total benefits to residents, businesses, and communities," explains Greg McPherson, lead author and station research forester. "We used measurements gathered through in-depth research of urban trees in Berkeley to model the annual benefits produced by of certain sizes and we compared maintenance costs, like planting and irrigation, to benefits."

Compared with small trees, large trees can store more carbon, filter more air pollutants, intercept more rainfall, and provide greater energy savings. Credit: USDA Forest Service, Center for Urban Forest Research

McPherson and his colleagues' results show that the quantity of the average annual net benefits increases with tree size—large-stature trees, for example, produce the highest benefit-to-cost ratio. His research team also found that, over a 40-year period, 100 large street trees provided $516,800 in benefits, far outweighing their $113,400 maintenance costs. The net benefit was $403,400; or for every dollar spent on tree management, residents receive $4.56 in benefits.

"This tree guide can easily be adopted for use by people in communities in this to calculate future benefits from proposed and existing tree planting projects," says McPherson. "It also gives advice on strategic selection and location of to maximize benefits."

Explore further: US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

More information: The research information and findings are integrated in "i-Tree Streets," a free software program, which is now used by more than 5,700 people worldwide. The software combines tree inventory, benefit, and cost data to report on the structure, function, and value of municipal forests. To download i-Tree, visit www.itreetools.org .

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Indianapolis trees provide $5.7M in benefits

May 15, 2008

U.S. Forest Service scientists with the Center for Urban Forest Research have completed a study that found planting and nurturing Indianapolis street trees brought a 500 percent return in benefits from storm water reduction, ...

New Study: Home Energy Savings Are Made in the Shade

May 06, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Trees positioned to shade the west and south sides of a house may decrease summertime electric bills by 5 percent on average, according to a recent study of California homes by researchers ...

Choosing the Right Trees Can Affect Air Quality

Oct 08, 2006

Cities can improve their air quality simply by planting the right mix of trees for their climate, according to a study by researchers at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).

Trees kill odors and other emissions from poultry farms

Aug 20, 2008

Planting just three rows of trees around poultry farms can cut nuisance emissions of dust, ammonia, and odors from poultry houses and aid in reducing neighbor complaints, according to scientists from the University ...

Recommended for you

US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

Apr 18, 2014

The United States announced Friday a fresh delay on a final decision regarding a controversial Canada to US oil pipeline, saying more time was needed to carry out a review.

New research on Earth's carbon budget

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Results from a research project involving scientists from the Desert Research Institute have generated new findings surrounding some of the unknowns of changes in climate and the degree to which ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...