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Economic Benefits of Trees

Trees Pay Us Back

The information provided on this page is taken from the Trees Pay Us Back brochure (PDF, 280 KB), produced by the U.S. Forest Service.

Properly cared for, Trees are valuable and growing assets worth three times the investment.

Healthy trees mean ... healthy people.(1)
One hundred trees remove 53 tons of carbon dioxide and 430 pounds of other air pollutants per year.
Healthy trees mean ... healthy communities.(2)
Tree-filled neighborhoods lower levels of domestic violence and are safer and more sociable.
Healthy trees mean ... healthy environment.(1)
One hundred mature trees catch about 139,000 gallons of rainwater per year.
Healthy trees mean ... homeowner savings.(1)
Strategically placed trees save up to 56% on annual air-conditioning costs.
Evergreens that block winter winds can save 3% on heating.
Healthy trees mean ... better business.(3)
In tree-lined commercial districts, shoppers report more frequent shopping, longer shopping trips, willingness to pay more for parking and willingness to spend 12% more for goods.
Healthy trees mean ... higher property values.(4)
Each large front yard tree adds 1% to the house sales price, and large specimen trees can add 10% to property value.

It pays to care for trees.

Landscape trees provide benefits that far exceed the costs of planting and care over their lifetime. Environmental and esthetic benefits, such as energy savings, stormwater runoff reduction, cleaner air, and higher property values, are an average of three times greater than tree care costs.(1) The greatest benefits are energy savings and higher property values.

One healthy public tree in its 20th year after planting provides $96 in benefits and only costs $36, for an annual net benefit of $60. One hundred healthy yard trees over 40 years provide $364,000 in benefits and only cost $92,000, for a 40-year net benefit of $272,000. One hundred healthy public trees over 40 years provide $380,000 in benefits and only cost $148,000, for a 40-year net benefit of $232,000.(1)

USDA Forest Service's Center for Urban Forest Research shows that ... It pays to care for trees.

To learn more about i-Tree, click on the Offsite link in the right column.

About the research:

Costs analyzed: Tree purchase and planting, Pruning, Irrigation, Pest and disease prevention and control, Removal and disposal, Sidewalk repair, Leaf litter clean-up, Liability, legal aspects, administration.
Benefits analyzed: Energy savings (electricity and natural gas), Air pollution reduction (carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide,
ozone, airborne particles, and volatile organic compounds), Runoff reduction (rainfall interception), Property values.
Methods: Benefits and costs were quantified for typical large, medium, and small deciduous trees (hackberry, red oak, and crabapple). The analysis assumed that trees were planted in a residential yard or public area (street-side or park) with a 60% survival rate over 40 years.
Tree care costs were based on results from a survey of municipal and commercial arborists. Benefits were calculated using tree growth curves and numerical models that consider regional climate, building characteristics, air-pollutant concentrations, and prices. Project partners included the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Tree Trust, and Minnesota Tree Care Advisors.

1 - McPherson, E.G.; Simpson, J.R.; Peper, P.J.; Maco, S.E.; Gardner, S.L.; Cozad, S.K.; Xiao, Q. 2005. Midwest community
tree guide: benefits, costs, and strategic planting. NA-TP-05-06. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry.
2 - Sullivan, W.C.; Kuo, F.E. 1996. Do trees strengthen urban communities, reduce domestic violence? Arborist News 5: 33-34.
3 - Wolf, K.L. 1999. Nature and commerce: human ecology in business districts. In Kollin, C., ed. Building Cities of Green: Proceedings of the 1999 National Urban Forest Conference. Washington, DC: American Forests: 56-59.
4 - Anderson, L.M.; Cordell, H.K. 1988. Residential property values improve by landscaping with trees. Southern Journal of Applied Forestry 9: 162-166.
Neely, D., ed. 1988. Valuation of landscape trees, shrubs, and other plants, 7th ed. Urbana, IL: International Society of
Arboriculture.