Health and Environmental Effects Research
Report on Urban Tree Ecosystem Services Featured on Forest Service Web Site
A recent NHEERL Western Ecology Division (WED) report on urban tree ecosystem services in Corvallis, OR, was selected as a “Featured i-Tree Project” on www.itreetools.org . This Web page is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (FS) and other agencies and is dedicated to use of i-Tree, a software suite from the FS that provides analysis and benefits assessment tools for urban forestry. The report was written by Don Phillips (WED research biologist), along with Connie Burdick (WED geographer), the Corvallis city forester, and the Oregon State University arborist. They used inventories of city street trees and Oregon State University campus trees and sampled random plots in other publicly owned areas to provide data on tree species, size, and other characteristics. These data were used as inputs to i-Tree models developed by the FS that quantify various ecosystem services provided by urban trees and their economic value. Specifically, the annual benefits assessed were energy savings and avoided air pollutant emissions because of shading of buildings, sequestration of carbon dioxide, absorption of air pollutants, reduction in stormwater runoff and required infrastructure, and increases in private real estate market values. In addition, the total amount of carbon dioxide stored and the total replacement cost of the public trees were estimated. Quantification 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 environmental benefits while controlling costs. The selection of this report to feature on the Web site serves to highlight some of the recent work done at EPA under the Ecosystem Services Research Program.