The benefits of individual trees are numerous. Trees are carbon sequester-ers; they remove carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and fine particulate matter from the air. Additionally, trees can aid in electricity and/or fuel savings in your home. While we do not often think of residential trees in terms of monetary value, researchers have created tools that allow us to quantify price value for individual urban trees.
i-Tree Design was constructed in 2006 as an aid to quantify the value of individual trees, or a small population of trees to a community. i-Tree is a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service that provides urban and rural forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools. The i-Tree tools can help strengthen forest management and advocacy efforts by quantifying forest structure and the environmental benefits that trees provide.
Since the initial release of the i-Tree Tools in August 2006, thousands of communities, non-profit organizations, consultants, volunteers and students around the world have used i-Tree to report on individual trees, parcels, neighbourhoods, cities, and even entire states. By understanding the local, tangible ecosystem services that trees provide i-Tree users can link forest management activities with environmental quality and community livability. Whether your interest is a single tree or an entire forest, i-Tree provides baseline data that you can use to demonstrate value and set priorities for more effective decision-making.
In accordance with iTree:
i-Tree Design allows anyone to make a simple estimation of the benefits provided by individual trees. With inputs of location, species, tree size, and condition, users will receive an understanding of tree benefits related to greenhouse gas mitigation, air quality improvements, and stormwater interception. With the additional step of drawing a building footprint – and virtually “planting” or placing a tree – tree effects on building energy use can be evaluated.
Tree benefits are estimated for (a) the current year, (b) a user-specified forecast year sometime in the future, (c) the projected total benefits across that future timespan, and (d) the total benefits provided to date (based on estimated tree age). Multiple trees and buildings can be added to compare benefits or to provide a full accounting of a property’s trees.
To calculate the value of your trees, visit iTree MyTree here. From there you will be able to input the parameters of the tree. An example is shown below.
This takes us to the final step, which calculates the value of the trees whose data was inputted. In our example with the Western red cedar, labelled ‘Western red cedar 1’, the quantifiable value of this stand-alone tree amounted to $35.80 USD per annum, the breakdown of which is as follows.
So, there you have it! Quantifiable values of your tree(s). And remember, preventative maintenance will make all the difference in the longevity of your tree, ensuring appreciation in value for years to come.