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Forests 2016, 7(3), 65; doi:10.3390/f7030065

Tree Mortality Undercuts Ability of Tree-Planting Programs to Provide Benefits: Results of a Three-City Study

1
School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA
2
Bloomington Urban Forestry Research Group, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47408, USA
3
The Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47408, USA
4
Department of Environmental Science and Studies, College of Science and Health, DePaul University, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Francisco Escobedo, Stephen John Livesley and Justin Morgenroth
Received: 16 December 2015 / Revised: 4 March 2016 / Accepted: 9 March 2016 / Published: 11 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban and Periurban Forest Diversity and Ecosystem Services)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2520 KB, uploaded 11 March 2016]   |  

Abstract

Trees provide numerous benefits for urban residents, including reduced energy usage, improved air quality, stormwater management, carbon sequestration, and increased property values. Quantifying these benefits can help justify the costs of planting trees. In this paper, we use i-Tree Streets to quantify the benefits of street trees planted by nonprofits in three U.S. cities (Detroit, Michigan; Indianapolis, Indiana, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) from 2009 to 2011. We also use both measured and modeled survival and growth rates to “grow” the tree populations 5 and 10 years into the future to project the future benefits of the trees under different survival and growth scenarios. The 4059 re-inventoried trees (2864 of which are living) currently provide almost $40,000 (USD) in estimated annual benefits ($9–$20/tree depending on the city), the majority (75%) of which are increased property values. The trees can be expected to provide increasing annual benefits during the 10 years after planting if the annual survival rate is higher than the 93% annual survival measured during the establishment period. However, our projections show that with continued 93% or lower annual survival, the increase in annual benefits from tree growth will not be able to make up for the loss of benefits as trees die. This means that estimated total annual benefits from a cohort of planted trees will decrease between the 5-year projection and the 10-year projection. The results of this study indicate that without early intervention to ensure survival of planted street trees, tree mortality may be significantly undercutting the ability of tree-planting programs to provide benefits to neighborhood residents. View Full-Text
Keywords: planted trees; i-Tree Streets; tree survival; tree growth; tree benefits; ecosystem services planted trees; i-Tree Streets; tree survival; tree growth; tree benefits; ecosystem services
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Widney, S.; Fischer, B.C.; Vogt, J. Tree Mortality Undercuts Ability of Tree-Planting Programs to Provide Benefits: Results of a Three-City Study. Forests 2016, 7, 65.

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