The Tree Benefit Calculator allows users to estimate the annual economic and environmental value of individual street trees using inputs of a tree’s location, species and size. It is intended to be simple and accessible and should be considered a starting point for understanding trees’ value in the community, rather than a scientific accounting of precise values. This tool is based on i-Tree’s street tree assessment tool called STREETS, which can be seen at itreetools.org. For more detailed information on urban and community forest assessments, visit the i-Tree website.
A cost-benefit analysis of Pittsburgh's street tree program using software developed by the USDA Forest Service called STRATUM showed that Pittsburgh's 29,641 publicly managed street trees provide cumulative benefits to the community valued at an average of $81 per tree annually, for a gross total value of $2.4 million annually. When the city’s annual $816,400 in tree-related expenditures are considered, the net annual benefit to the city is $1.6 million, or $53 per tree per year.
This paper reviews research concerning urban forest structure, function, and value, with emphasis on results from the Chicago Urban Forest Climate Project. In 1991, the $59 million in benefits from its trees in energy savings, air-pollution mitigation, avoided runoff and other benefits far outweighed the $21 million in costs of planting and maintenance. It takes between 9 and 18 years to pay back planting and maintenance costs.
Starting in 1995, the New Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia was revitalized with street tree plantings, the planting of grass and trees on vacant lots, and the conversion of vacant lots to community gardens or side yards for adjacent homeowners. The goals were improving the community’s appearance, curbing population loss, attracting new residents, and encouraging reinvestment. There was a $4 million gain in property value through tree plantings and a $12 million gain through lot improvements.
To show how a strategy of land conservation is integral to economic health, this report illustrates that parks and open space increase property tax revenue and yields a better return on investment than development. It reviews the economic benefits of farmland preservation, shows how forest cover decreases the cost of treating drinking water, enumerates the economic value of urban trees, and examines the role of parks and open space in attracting businesses and affluent retirees to a community.
Study finds that the opening of a community garden has a statistically significant positive impact on residential properties within 1,000 feet of the garden, and that the impact increases over time. It finds that gardens have the greatest impact in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Higher quality gardens have the greatest positive impact. Finally, it finds that the opening of a garden is associated with other changes in the neighborhood, such as increasing rates of home ownership, and thus may be serving as catalysts for economic redevelopment of the community.
American Forests analyzed the Delaware Valley region to provide community leaders with detailed information about the region's tree cover and its environmental and economic impacts. It documents the landscape changes that have occurred over time and identifies the impact these changes have made on the environmental services provided by the region’s urban forests. In addition, American Forests created a “green data layer” –a digital tool that local communities can use to integrate urban forest ecology into future planning.