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Does tree planting pay us back? Lessons from Sacramento, CA


Yekang Ko
Junhak Lee



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Northern Research Station


Arborist News. June: 50-54.


The past decade could be called a renaissance of urban forestry, driven by mayoral tree planting initiatives and increased attention on city trees as green infrastructure. The political support for urban greening has been fueled by research that quantifies and projects the ecosystem services of planting initiatives (Young and McPherson 2013). Major cities have been launching "million tree" campaigns, hoping that those trees pay us back. In the scholarly literature, doubts have been raised as to whether urban tree planting is more fashion than function (Pincetl et al. 2012). W e have little understanding of how these planted trees actually survive, grow, and perform, especially in the long term. Concerns have been raised in newspapers and blogs as well, with article titles such as "A million trees? Only if we can keep them around" (Marritz 2012). Here, we present empirical evidence to answer the question: How are planted trees really doing? It is only after we have answered this question that we can we judge whether our planting investments are paying off.


Ko, Yekang; Roman, Lara A.; McPherson, E. Gregory; Lee, Junhak. 2016. Does tree planting pay us back? Lessons from Sacramento, CA. Arborist News. June: 50-54.

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