Putting a Dollar Value on Urban Trees

According to this study, existing "leafy infrastructure" in ten of the world's largest cities confers an estimated $505 million in benefits. Planting more could magnify the effect.

1 minute read

September 13, 2017, 12:00 PM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


Trees and People

WDG Photo / Shutterstock

Jessica Leigh Hester covers a study that puts a dollar value on the positive effects of urban forests. "A team of researchers led by Theodore Endreny of SUNY's College of Environmental Studies and Forestry sought to quantify how leafy infrastructure pays dividends in 10 chock-full cities—and the extent to which the benefits could compound if those areas went greener."

"Many of trees' benevolent effects are general and constant: They help mitigate the heat-island effect, for example, and curb pollution. But the more specific benefits dispersed by trees vary from place to place." Stormwater remediation, for example, doesn't account for much in dry Cairo.

Across the 10 megacities, the study estimates an average of $505 million is saved annually. Lower air pollution makes up the bulk of these savings.

  • $482 million per year in decreased air pollution (predominantly from smaller particulate matter, a byproduct of combustion and diesel engines)
  • A benefit of $11 million annually through improved stormwater remediation
  • A half-million saved in heating and cooling costs
  • $8 million in C02 sequestration

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