[Vision2020] benefits of city trees

Donovan Arnold donovanjarnold2005 at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 30 14:52:54 PST 2007

Support your neghborhood tree. Git'ur 'I  Trees!" bumper stickers.

Bill London <london at moscow.com> wrote:
            The report (below) from Boise shows how important trees are to a community, well beyond their aesthetic appeal.
  The city of Moscow has created a tree program that supports this urban forestry That program deserves our continued support
  December 17, 2007   


  Forest Service study shows benefits of Boise's "street" trees

     Boise public street trees return thousands of dollars in benefits from storm-water reduction, energy conservation, cleaner air and increased property values, according to a study completed by the USDA Forest Service Center for Urban Forest Research. 
  Nearly 23,500 trees managed by the Boise Parks & Recreation Community Forestry Unit were evaluated for the study.
  “The majority of Boise’s street trees are young and immature, so the benefits should increase as the trees grow,” said Dr. Greg McPherson, center director. “The city’s forest managers have planned well,” he said. None of the 179 species represents more than 10 percent of the total tree population. “This is important because having too many of any one species puts the forest at risk of suffering catastrophic loss due to disease or pests.” 
  Key findings of the report show that Boise street trees:
  • Reduce electricity consumption. Total electricity and natural gas saved due to shading and climate modification by the trees is $331,780 or $14 per tree annually. 
  • Intercept 19.2 million gallons of rainfall annually, thus reducing storm-water runoff. The average Boise street tree intercepts about 827 gallons of rainfall each year, worth $4 per tree annually. 
  • Remove 0.2 pounds of air pollutants per tree annually, valued at $0.27 per tree or $6,290 citywide. Ozone and nitrogen dioxide are the most significant pollutants intercepted by Boise street trees. 
  • Reduce net annual carbon dioxide by 1.4 tons, worth another $6,060 or $0.26 per tree.
  • Increase property values and provide other less tangible benefits valued at $5.6 million, or $24 per tree on average.
  Boise's street trees have a replacement value of $88.3 million -- or $3,794 per tree - reflecting each tree’s value over their lifetime. 
  Annual benefits vary by species, largely due to tree size. The city’s 1,926 silver maples produce the highest total level of benefits ($90 per tree annually, 17% of total benefits). Norway maples are the next most valuable species producing 9% of benefits at $36 per tree. Both species grow to become large trees. However, silver maples cost the city the most to manage because the species is prone to decay and storm damage. The majority of Boise's silver maples are nearing the end of their productive lives and require removal or more intensive care, said Brian Jorgenson, city forester. 
  “The results of this study support what many Boiseans already know: that ‘street trees’ are a vital component of the city infrastructure and they pay us back with 30% interest,” said Jorgenson. Homeowners can help protect this resource by keeping their street trees watered. “We are losing street trees because they don’t get any irrigation,” he said. “In the summer, watering deeply once or twice every week under the crown of the tree will make a huge difference.” 
  Everyone in the city can reap the rewards of planting large-growing trees to shade their homes, driveways and patios, Jorgenson said. “But planting a tree is only the first step; we also have to water, protect, and prune them correctly.” 
  The report also identified several ways in which trees can help meet Boise's Climate Protection Agreement goals to reduce greenhouse gases and emissions. Recommendations include developing programs to significantly increase shade tree planting, set a goal of planting one tree for every five residents, plant larger-growing shade trees and plan for adequate care and pruning of trees to reduce mortality rates. 
  The study also urges the city to:
  • Develop a strong young-tree care program
• Track the success of newly planted trees
• Invest in planned maintenance of mature trees
• Work with the Ada County Highway District to develop planting space and tree guidelines
• Implement priorities of the Forestry Management Plan
• Develop an ordinance that creates shade guidelines for streets and parking lots to promote tree canopy cover and associated benefits. 
  Boise’s Community Forestry unit is responsible for the preservation, protection and management of 41,000 publicly-owned trees in the City of Boise. Community Forestry also sponsors the Releaf Boise tree-planting event, free Tree Steward classes and other educational opportunities. 
  In April 2007, the City of Boise was named a Tree City USA for the 29th consecutive year by the National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. The award recognizes Boise’s commitment to an effective and comprehensive community forestry program operated through the city's Parks & Recreation Department. 
  For more information about Boise's Community Forestry unit, call 384-4083 or see www.cityofboise.org/parks/forestry. 
  Media contacts:
Brian Jorgenson, City Forester, 384-4083
Amy Stahl, Community Relations, 384-4060, ext. 304 

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