Holy Crap…The Trees on Your Block Are Worth HOW Much Money?!

Scientists just showed that money really does grow on trees.

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-334535483/stock-photo-tall-liquid-ambar-commonly-called-sweetgum-tree-or-american-sweet-gum-tree-lining-an-older.html?src=bOvTSRJ4LNe8_ruOvRVGFA-1-25">Sheila Fitzgerald</a>/Shutterstock

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


This story originally appeared on Grist and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

It’s not easy to price a tree, but a group of researchers from the US Forest Service and UC Davis have tried to do exactly that.

Working with a dataset of about 900,000 trees that line California’s public streets, the group sought to place a dollar value on the services those trees perform, which include “energy savings, carbon storage, air pollutant uptake, and rainfall interception.”

Trees lining California’s public streets contribute about $1 billion annually to the state’s economy—nearly $111 per tree.

All told, the researchers estimate the trees contribute about $1 billion annually—nearly $111 per tree for each of the state’s 9.1 million street trees.

They found that the trees are worth $839 million annually alone based on the value they add to property, by providing more privacy and better views.

Trees help us fight climate change, too. The study values their carbon-storage abilities at $10 million each year and their energy savings (from the shade they provide) at $101 million. Between carbon sequestration and emissions reductions from energy savings, the state’s street trees avoid nearly 600,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually, which is like removing 120,000 cars from the road.

Trees also take pollutants like ozone and particulate matter out of the air—adding another $18 million to the tally.

Going forward, urban foresters can use the study to help guide what types of trees pack the maximum economic and environmental impact and, importantly, where to plant more of our leafy friends. Tree-lined streets and public green spaces tend to be located in the affluent, whiter parts of town.

The researchers write that there’s enough vacant space for another 16 million street trees to be planted in the state.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate