By Dan Shapley
Studies Of Urban Trees Find Some Are Worth Tens Of Thousands
It's hard to measure the worth of trees in the yard -- putting a dollar value old-timey pleasure of a tire swing, or leafy shade on a hot summer day. But that's what, increasingly, economists are doing. And they're finding that trees are worth an awful lot more than many would expect. Try $90,000 for a good oak in Texas. More modestly, New York City has estimated a per tree average worth of about $200 -- but that adds up to $233 million across the Big Apple. The Forest Service puts the value of urban trees across the United States at more than $14 billion. The value comes in filtering air pollution, shading buildings and thus reducing energy demand, slowing stormwater runoff and that old standby "aesthetics." These figures may give community planners pause as they consider the next subdivision plan. Keeping a few of those trees can be worth an awful lot to the owners of the homes being built.