Scientists Quantify the Value of Ecosystem Services Provided by the San Juan Bay Estuary
Forest inventories were conducted in 2001 and 2011 in the urban forests and other land uses within the watershed of Puerto Rico's San Juan Bay Estuary. This study found that mangrove and subtropical moist secondary forest covered 12 percent of the area. This forest cover stored 319,737 metric tons of carbon and sequestered carbon at a rate of 28,384 metric tons per year. The estimated value of the carbon storage by trees in the watershed was $8.1 million with an annual carbon sequestration value of $718,113 in 2011. In 2011 approximately 19,000 megawatts of energy required for building cooling were avoided due to tree shading and climate effects in residential and commercial areas and equated to 1,900 metric tons of avoided carbon emissions due to building energy effects. The study showed that those benefits can be increased by tree establishment and protection programs or decreased by deforestation due to urban development and other activities. Proper planning and management can sustain or enhance the existing urban forest to increase the environmental and societal benefits from trees in the San Juan Bay estuary watershed.
Forest Service Partners