Urban Forests: Understanding Associated Costs

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A community receives many benefits from the urban forest; however, there are also costs associated with having a healthy urban forest. Estimates for tree costs in the U.S. range from $12.87 to $65 per tree (McPherson et al. 2005). Working towards the common goal of managing the urban forest to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs helps communities grow and develop while maintaining a healthy environment for current and future generations. A healthy urban forest requires a community investment.

Urban Forestry Video Series New Release!

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Trees provide more than just beauty or a source of wood products. Rather, trees provide an assortment of economic, environmental, psychological and social benefits to humans. Energy savings are one such highly valued benefit or service urban trees provide. Did you know that just 17% shade on a building from trees for example can reduce power bills by $10/ month or that urban trees can lower surrounding temperatures by as much as 20° F?  Alternatively, trees can reduce winter heating …

How do trees and other vegetation affect urban mesoclimates and microclimates?

Vegetation affects urban mesoclimate and microclimate by intercepting solar radiation, directing air movement, and affecting air temperature.  Microclimate, mesoclimate and macroclimate can be used to describe the climate of a given location. Macroclimate covers hundreds of square miles and parameters such as precipitation levels, temperatures and winds. Mesoclimate covers areas of tens of square miles and describes how conditions vary from the prevailing macroclimate due to the effects of water bodies, topographic features (terrain), and other landscape influences. A microclimate …

Urban Forests: The Benefits Outweigh the Costs


Trees are an important part of our communities, but tree planting, maintenance and protection require an investment of resources, including time and money. Are the benefits that trees afford our communities greater than their costs? The answer is yes. A study of future benefits and costs of a tree planting program in Chicago found that the projected value of trees, when measured by such things as increased property values and decreased energy use, is nearly three times greater than the …