Quantifying urban forest structure, function, and value: the Chicago Urban Forest Climate Project

Abstract

This paper is a review of research in Chicago that linked analyses of vegetation structure with forest functions and values. During 1991, the regions trees removed an estimated 5575 metric tons of air pollutants, providing air cleansing worth 9.2 million. Each year they sequester an estimated 315 800 metric tons of carbon. Increasing tree cover 10% or planting about three trees per building lot saves annual heating and cooling costs by an estimated 50 to 90 per dwelling unit because of increased shade, lower summertime air temperatures, and reduced neighborhood wind speeds once the trees mature. The net present value of the services trees provide is estimated as 402 per planted tree. The present value of long-term benefits is more than twice the present value of costs.

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McPherson, E.G., Nowak, D., Heisler, G. et al. Quantifying urban forest structure, function, and value: the Chicago Urban Forest Climate Project. Urban Ecosystems 1, 49–61 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1014350822458

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  • urban forests
  • urban ecology
  • urban climate
  • hydroclimate
  • air pollution
  • energy conservation
  • carbon removal
  • benefit-cost analysis