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Municipal forest benefits and costs in five U.S. cities

Formally Refereed
Authors: E.G. McPherson, J.R. Simpson, P.J. Peper, S.E. Maco, Q. Xiao
Year: 2005
Type: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
Source: Journal of Forestry. 103(8): 411-416


Increasingly, city trees are viewed as a best management practice to control stormwater, an urban-heat–island mitigation measure for cleaner air, a CO2-reduction option to offset emissions, and an alternative to costly new electric power plants. Measuring benefits that accrue from the community forest is the first step to altering forest structure in ways that will enhance future benefits. This article describes the structure, function, and value of street and park tree populations in Fort Collins, Colorado; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Bismarck, North Dakota; Berkeley, California; and Glendale, Arizona. Although these cities spent $13– 65 annually per tree, benefits ranged from $31 to $89 per tree. For every dollar invested in management, benefits returned annually ranged from $1.37 to $3.09. Strategies each city can take to increase net benefits are presented.


urban forest valuation, economic analysis, urban forest management


McPherson, E.G.; Simpson, J.R.; Peper, P.J.; Maco, S.E.; Xiao, Q. 2005. Municipal forest benefits and costs in five U.S. cities. Journal of Forestry. 103(8): 411-416.