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Assessment of ecosystem services provided by urban trees: public lands within the Urban Growth Boundary of Corvallis, OR
PHILLIPS, D. L. Assessment of ecosystem services provided by urban trees: public lands within the Urban Growth Boundary of Corvallis, OR. IN: The City, (2011).
Public lands within the Urban Growth Boundary of Corvallis, Oregon contain a diverse population of about 440,000 trees that include over 300 varieties and have an estimated tree cover of 31%. While often unrecognized, urban trees provide a variety of “ecosystem services” or direct environmental benefits for people. This study used computer models developed by the USDA Forest Service to quantify these ecosystem benefits in both physical and economic terms. The annual benefits include: • energy savings and avoided air pollutant emissions due to shading of buildings • sequestration (storage) of carbon dioxide, the principal atmospheric greenhouse gas • absorption of air pollutants • reduction in stormwater runoff and required infrastructure • increases in private real estate market values The annual benefits were estimated at $4,000,000, which corresponds to an average of $9 per tree and $75 per capita. In terms of fixed asset values, the total amount of carbon dioxide stored was valued at $1.45 million and the total replacement value of the trees was estimated at $450 million. Enumeration of these benefits can raise citizen awareness of the value of their public tree resources, as well as provide a basis for management to maximize benefits while controlling costs.