"For the first time, the Parks Department can actually translate the value of the city's trees into real dollars and cents. And as expected, it's a big number.
Step 1 was a tree census, a two-year process that sent more than 1,000 volunteers to count every tree on every street in the city. The census results were then fed into a computer program that spit out a dollar value for each of the 592,130 trees counted, a figure that does not include the roughly 4.5 million trees in parks and on private land.
The program, called Stratum, was developed by researchers at the University of California at Davis and the United States Forest Service. It takes into account several factors, including a tree's impact on local property values, its contribution to cleaning the air by absorbing carbon dioxide, and how much its shade helps reduce energy consumption.
Factoring in the costs associated with planting and upkeep, New York City's street trees provide an annual benefit of about $122 million, according to the Parks Department. The study concludes that New York receives $5.60 in benefits for every dollar spent on trees."