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Publications and Products

Title: Million trees Los Angeles canopy cover and benefit assessment

Authors: McPherson, E.G.; Simpson, J.R.; Xiao, Q.; Wu, C.

Date: 2011

Source Landscape and Urban Planning 99: 40-50

Abstract: The Million Trees LA initiative intends to improve Los Angeles’s environment through planting and stewardship of 1 million trees. The purpose of this study was to measure Los Angeles’s existing tree canopy cover (TCC), determine if space exists for 1 million additional trees, and estimate future benefits from the planting. High-resolution QuickBird remote sensing data, aerial photographs, and geographic information systems were used to classify land cover types, measure TCC, and identify potential tree planting sites. Benefits were forecast for planting of 1 million trees between 2006 and 2010, and their growth and mortality were projected until 2040. Two scenarios reflected low (17%) and high (56%) mortality rates. Numerical models were used with geographic data and tree size information for coastal and inland climate zones to calculate annual benefits and their monetary value. Los Angeles’s existing TCC was 21%, and ranged from 7 to 37% by council district. There was potential to add 2.5 million additional trees to the existing population of approximately 10.8 million, but only 1.3 million of the potential tree sites are deemed realistic to plant. Benefits for the 1-million-tree planting for the 35-year period were $1.33 billion and $1.95 billion for the high- and low-mortality scenarios, respectively. Average annual benefits were $38 and $56 per tree planted. Eighty-one percent of total benefits were aesthetic/other, 8% were stormwater runoff reduction, 6% energy savings, 4% air quality improvement, and less than 1% atmospheric carbon reduction.

Keywords: ecosystem services, urban forestry, tree canopy cover, tree benefits

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Citation

    McPherson, E.G.; Simpson, J.R.; Xiao, Q.; Wu, C. 2011. Million trees Los Angeles canopy cover and benefit assessment. Landscape and Urban Planning 99: 40-50
Last Modified: June 22, 2011