Sports and Outdoors

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Publication explains urban forestry benefits

Indiana DNR Release:

The U.S. Forest Service’s Center for Urban Forest Research has released a guidebook describing how trees benefit cities in the lower Midwest states, including Indiana.

“The Lower Midwest Community Tree Guide: Benefits, Costs and Strategic Planting” is the latest in a series of publications showing how urban forests improve air quality, conserve energy, filter storm water and reduce carbon dioxide in the nation’s cities.

“This guide can help homeowners and municipal forestry managers determine the costs and benefits of the trees on their lawns and in their community,” said Pam Louks, Indiana Urban Forestry coordinator.

Center for Urban Forest Research scientists found that reduction in storm water runoff is the most significant benefit urban trees in the lower Midwest provide. A mature hardwood tree in this region can yield annual savings of $30 in storm water runoff reduction, intercept 4,800 gallons each year, sequester six tons of carbon dioxide, and provide about $940 in aesthetic, social and economic benefits during its life.

This average annual benefit differs with size and location. After accounting for purchase, planting, and maintenance, scientists found net benefits of $15 to $21 for a small hardwood tree, $27 to $35 for a medium one, and $58 to $73 for a large.

“Individually, this net annual benefit may not sound like much, but, when a municipality considers the annual net benefit of 500 to 1,000 trees, the dollar value and positive environmental impact add up significantly,” Louks said.

The guide also tells how to maximize energy savings from shading, select the right tree for the right place, avoid conflicts with above- and under-ground infrastructure, and reduce storm water runoff.

Get an electronic copy by calling (317) 591-1170 or e-mailing The US Forest Service, (970) 498-1392 or e, has printed copies available.

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