In honor of Arbor Day and Earth Day, Cincinnati Parks has installed “tree tags,” which are price tags that quantify the benefits of trees in dollars. The temporary display will rotate through the park system this spring and summer. The values on the tree tags were calculated using the MyTree app, which estimates benefits of individual trees.
The purpose of the tree price tag project was to make people aware of the many benefits that trees provide to cities:
- stormwater runoff reduction
- improved air quality
- higher real estate values (and property tax receipts)
- carbon storage
- energy savings
The tree tags show a dollar value for the services provided by that tree over a 10 year period.
While trees are beautiful, they are also a vital part of Cincinnati’s infrastructure, providing many benefits. They need maintenance and care. This is not a nice extra in city budgets; it is vital maintenance that actually saves cities money in the long run. Trees don’t cost us money – trees pay us back many times over. Tall-growing shade trees such as oaks, maples, gingko, bald cypress and others provide many more benefits than short growing trees such as the crabapples, pears and redbuds. This is for two reasons: the taller trees have more impact on the environment with more shade, more carbon stored, and more leaf and root area to hold stormwater. The shade trees also tend to live much longer than smaller trees – 70- 200+ years when cared for vs. 30 years for the smaller trees.
Stormwater avoidance provides the largest value as falling rain collects on leaves and bark until it evaporates, rather than running off and entering storm drains.
Factors influencing each tree’s value include species and condition, trunk diameter (DBH) and proximity to a building.
Residents can calculate the value of their tree using the free MyTree app available from the U.S. Forest Service through the iTree suite of programs. The programs are a tool to estimate environmental benefits of trees and all calculations are based on peer-reviewed research. Please visit itreetools.org/mytree for more information.
The tree tags were hung at Washington Park on Friday, 4/21/17 and will make there way around the city. There next stop will be at Mt. Airy Forest on Friday, 4/28/17.