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Municipal Forest Benefits and Costs in Five US Cities

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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.
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Keywords: economic analysis; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; urban forest management; urban forest valuation

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Research Forester USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Plant Science University of California MS-6, One Shields Avenue Davis CA 95616, Email: [email protected] 2: Forest Meteorologist USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Plant Science University of California MS-6, One Shields Avenue Davis CA 95616, Email: [email protected] 3: Ecologist USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Plant Science University of California MS-6, One Shields Avenue Davis CA 95616, Email: [email protected] 4: Urban Forester USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Plant Science University of California MS-6, One Shields Avenue Davis CA 95616, Email: [email protected] 5: Research Scientist Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources University of California One Shields Avenue Davis CA 95616, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 December 2005

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