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Environmental Value of Landscapes
Environmental Value

The cost of U.S. forest-based carbon sequestration

 PDF (407 kb)
  Robert N. Stavins, Kenneth R. Richards; Pew Center on Global Climate Change, 2005  
Most analyses to date of options for mitigating the risk of global climate change have focused on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs). Much less attention has been given to the potential for storing (or “sequestering”) significant amounts of carbon in forests and other ecosystems as an alternative means of offsetting the effect of future emissions on GHG concentrations in the atmosphere. The tendency to overlook sequestration opportunities can lead to incorrect and overly pessimistic conclusions about both the cost and feasibility of addressing global climate change in the decades ahead. To remedy that gap, and to inform U.S. policymaking, the Pew Center asked economists Robert Stavins of Harvard University and Kenneth Richards of Indiana University to synthesize and expand upon available studies of forest-based carbon sequestration in the United States. They analyze the true opportunity costs of using land for sequestration, in contrast with other productive uses, and examine the multiple factors that drive the economics of storing carbon in forests over long periods of time.
Oxygen Production by Urban Trees in the United States  PDF (548 kb)
  David J. Nowak, Robert Hoehn, and Danial E. Crane; Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 2007  
Urban Forest in the coterminous United States are estimated to produce 61 million metric tons of oxygen annually, enough oxygen to offset the annual oxygen consumption of approximately two-thirds of the US population. Although oxygen production is often cited asa significant benefit of tree, this benefit is relatively insignificant and of negligible value as a result of the large axygen content of the atmosphere. Other benefits of urban forest are more critical to environmental quality and human health than oxygen production by urban trees.
Trees in the City: Measuring and Valuing the Urban Forest  PDF (1.6mb)
  Northeastern Research Station, USDA Forest Service  
Trees do more than just provide aesthetic benefits, they provide important cooling effects, reduce the urban heat-island effect, reduce incident UV rays and help keep pavement and parked cars cooler. In addition, in properly planted barriers, they can reduce wind and traffic sounds. They can actually reduce air pollution and absorb carbon dioxide (CO2 ), the predominant grenhouse gas. Given current concerns about global climate change increasing temperatures, anything that helps to ameliorate the urban heat-island effect and reduce atmospheric CO2 levels certainly merits attention and action..

Trees to Save San Antonio Millions of Dollars Annually
New study shows financial and environmental benefits of urban trees.

 PDF (95 kb)
  American Forests Organization  
An urban ecosystem analysis of greater San Antonio (Texas) conducted by the organization American Forests has calculated that the area’s tree cover is saving the city $70 million a year in ecological services, including storm water management, air quality, and energy conservation.

Chicago's Evolving Urban Forest:
Initial Report of the Chicago Urban Foresst Climate Project

PDF (10mb)
  E. Gregory Mcpherson, David J. Nowak, Paul Scamano, Scoot E. Prichard, Editih M. Makra. July 1992
The history of Chicago's landscape is traced as it has evolved from a mixture of prairie, wetlands, and oak forests into a major metropolis. An analysis of 1987 aerial photographs indicates that Chicago area tree cover has increased from a presettlement level of about 13 percent to nearly 20 percent today. Street trees predominate Chicago;s residential areas, where buildings and pavings restrict tree cover in many off-street locations. Larger percentages of tree cover were found for off-street trees in suburban Cook and Dupage Counties. Chicago's urban climate is associated with increases in rainfall and flooding, summertime temperatures and air conditioning energy usem and unhealthy levels of ozone. The potential of urban vegetation to improve environmental quality is reviewed and the Chicago Urban Forest Climate Project research plan is described.
The Urban Forest Effects (UFORE) Model: Field Data Collection Manual PDF (440 kb)
  David J. Nowak, Daniel E. Crane, Jack C. Stevens and Robert E. Hoehn USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station July 2003.
The Urban Forest Effects (UFORE) computer model was developed to help managers and researchers quantify urban forest structure and functions based on standard inputs of field, meteorological and pollution data.
Iowa Odor Control Demonstration Project PDF (228 kb)
  Iowa State University, 1998.
An Iowa State University research project is evaluating how landscaping can help to control odors from livestock operations, in addition to providing visual isolation and aesthetic enhancement.

Syracuse Urban Forest Master Plan:
Guiding the City’s Forest Resource Into the 21st Century

PDF (2.3mb)
  Northeast Research Station, USDA Forest Service
The Syracuse Urban Forest Master Plan is one of the most comprehensive urban forest assessments ever developed for a city. This report combines a high-resolution digital urban cover map with field vegetation sampling data from all land uses, a 100-percent street-tree inventory, a survey of city residents regarding desirable and undesirable tree characteristics and functions, and a survey of local tree experts on the best trees for various city conditions. These data provide a wealth of information related to the urban forest resource and its management, and were used to develop 10 recommendations to help guide urban forest management in Syracuse in the 21st century.
Improving Fire Hazard Assessment in South Lake Tahoe, CA PDF (54 kb)
  Lisa de Jong, Fire Management Today, vol. 63, no. 2, 35-40 Spring 2003.
The combination of small lot size and landscape preferences can impede individual and community fire hazard mitigation. South Lake Tahoe is at high fire risk due to the reluctance of homeowners to provide defensible space, maintain and irrigate their property, and use fire-safe construction materials.
Ecology for a Crowded Planet PDF (341 kb)
  Science, Vol 304, Issue 5675, 1251-1252 , 28 May 2004.
Within the next 50 to 100 years, support and maintenance of an extended human family of 8 to 11 billion people will become difficult at best. Our consumption rates already exceed the supply of many resources crucial to human health, and few places on Earth do not bear the stamp of human impacts. Studying the few and rapidly shrinking undisturbed ecosystems is important, but now is the time to focus on an ecology for the future. A research perspective that incorporates human activities as integral components of Earth's ecosystems is needed, as is a focus on a future in which Earth's life support systems are maintained while human needs are met.
Enviroscaping PDF (65kb)
  Joan Bradshaw and Linda Tozer, University of Florida, 1993.
Research indicates that shade has a dramatic effect on ground temperatures. When shaded, ground temperatures were found to drop an average of 36 degrees in only 5 minutes. Studies have also shown that temperatures on a forest floor can be as much as 25 degrees cooler than those recorded at the tree tops. You can create similar effects in your home landscape with careful planning and design.
A Guide to Selecting Existing Vegetation for Low-energy Landscapes PDF (25kb)
  Mitchell Flinchum, University of Florida,June 1990.
Existing vegetation can be helpful to the low-energy, low-maintenance landscaping concept. Landscaping with plants that would grow naturally conserves energy by limiting the need for pesticides, fertilizers and water, all of which require fossil fuels for processing and delivery. While the use of existing vegetation for low-energy landscaping may not be right for all sites, the concept should be evaluated before construction activities begin.
Tomorrow's Energy Today for Cities and Counties: Cooling our Cities PDF (86kb)
  U.S. Department of Energy, Nov. 1993.
One of the simplest and cheapest strategies for countering the urban heat island effect is to increase the number of trees and other plants. Vegetation cools directly by shading and indirectly through evapo-transpiration, the process by which plants release water vapor.
Landscaping for Energy Efficiency PDF (450kb)
  U.S. Department of Energy, Factsheet 1995.
Carefully positioned trees can reduce household energy consumption for heating and cooling by up to 25%. Computer models from the U.S. Department of Energy estimate that three properly placed trees can save an average household between $100 and $250 in heating and cooling energy costs annually. A tree shading an outdoor air conditioner unit can increase its efficiency by as much as 10%.
  Arizona Public Service Company, 1990, Factsheet PDF (24kb)
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if your home is not already shaded you can reduce your air conditioning costs by 15% or more by adding a well-planned landscape. This is accomplished by using trees and bushes to block the sun from windows and walls; reducing air temperatures outside the home with properly placed shade trees; and planting groundcovers, trees, and shrubs to reduce the heat reflected from the ground to walls and windows. Shrubs and vines planted next to the house provide year-round insulation by creating an air space.
Trees, Parking and Green Law: Strategies for Sustainability PDF (2.7mb)
  Kathleen L. Wolf. Georgia Forestry Commission, Urban and Community Forestry.
Parking lots occupy about 10 percent overall of the land in U.S. cities, and can be as much as 20 to 30 percent of downtown core areas. This report searches to understand how trees and the urban forest can mitigate parking area impacts. It provides an overview of current scientific knowledge regarding trees and parking areas, considers the purpose of code and law, traces the history of urban green law and presents the latest legal innovations.