Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): David J. NowakEric J. Greenfield; Ryan M. Ash
    Date: 2019
    Source: Urban Forestry & Urban Greening
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (416.0 KB)


    Urban trees provide numerous benefits to society, but upon removal, this resource is underutilized and often considered a waste product to be discarded. However, urban trees have a potential to be utilized for various products, create jobs and an income stream for cities. The latest data on urban forests in the United States were used to estimate the potential annual value that could be derived from urban tree waste. Assuming a mortality rate of 2%, annual urban woody biomass loss in the U.S. equates to about 46 million tonnes of fresh-weight merchantable wood or 7.2 billion board feet of lumber or 16 million cords of firewood. The potential annual value from urban wood waste ranges between $89-786 million depending upon the product derived (e.g., wood chips to lumber). States with the greatest urban wood product potential are Florida ($6.6–57.6 million/year) and Georgia ($6.0–52.7 million/year). Along with woody biomass, annual leaf loss has a potential to produce value. The value of nutrients in annual leaf litter is estimated at $551 million per year. In addition to direct revenue from sales, other environmental benefits can be derived through tree waste utilization that reduces landfill waste, use of fertilizers and fossil fuel use in energy production. There are various reasons why this potential maximum value from urban tree waste is not and likely cannot be attained, but its current use and value can be increased. Creating markets and systems to utilize urban tree removals and leaves can help enhance income for urban forest management as well as create social and environmental goods.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Nowak, David J.; Greenfield, Eric J.; Ash, Ryan M. 2019. Annual biomass loss and potential value of urban tree waste in the United States. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 46: 126469. 9 p.


    Google Scholar


    Leaf nutrients, Tree biomass, Urban forests, Urban tree recycling, Wood products

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page