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California ‘Street’ Tree Benefits Valued at $1 Billion

Photo of Street trees lining California’s roadways provide $1 billion in services each year.  U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Street trees lining California’s roadways provide $1 billion in services each year. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : Forest Service researchers use a computerized tree inventory and management program to quantify the number and types of tree species lining California streets, as well as to calculate the value of their various ecological benefits.

Principal Investigators(s) :
McPherson, E. Gregory 
Research Location : Davis, Calif.
Research Station : Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 978

Summary

Using tree inventory data from 49 cities analyzed in i-Tree, a computerized tree inventory and management suite, Forest Service researchers were able to create a composite picture of not only the number of California's street trees, but also their species, size, location and associated benefits. An estimated 9.1 million trees, providing ecological services valued at $1 billion, are lining California's streets and boulevards, with room for another 16 million trees. While numbers have increased from 5.9 million in 1988, tree density has actually fallen from 105 to 75 trees per mile, nearly a 30 percent drop. From carbon storage ($10.32 million) and removal of air pollutants ($18.15 million) to interception of rainfall ($41.5 million) and energy savings from both heating and cooling ($101.15 million), California's street trees are paying big dividends. They even bolster property values and home sale prices to the tune of $838.9 million. Researchers concluded that for every $1 invested in street trees, the trees returned $5.82 in benefits.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • CALFIRE
  • John de Goede, University of California Davis