Mayor Backs Tree Planting for Benefits to City

By Heinrichs, Allison M | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 9, 2008 | Go to article overview

Mayor Backs Tree Planting for Benefits to City


Heinrichs, Allison M, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Mayor Luke Ravenstahl accepted a giant novelty check for $2.4 million made payable to "City of Pittsburgh residents" signed by "Street Trees" on Wednesday.

And though that check won't ever be cashed, the city realizes its value every year, according to an analysis of Pittsburgh's street trees that the city released yesterday.

"Trees are the only part of our city's infrastructure that actually gains value as it matures," said Danielle Crumrine, executive director of Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest, a nonprofit organization that managed the analysis conducted by Davey Resource Group. "This is why we need to plant more trees and, more importantly, take care of those that have worked so hard for us for so many years."

Trees reduce costs and add value to Pittsburgh by reducing pollution, increasing property values and lowering electric bills. For every $1 that the city spends caring for trees annually, the trees provide $3 in savings, according to the report.

The analysis was done by inputting the city's inventory of its 29,641 street trees into a tool developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service, called STRATUM, or Street Tree Resource Analysis Tool for Urban Forest Managers.

Among its findings:

Shade and climate control from street trees reduce electricity and natural gas use in Pittsburgh by 2,227 megawatt-hours for $1.2 million in annual savings, or $40.66 per tree.

Carbon dioxide is reduced by 5,303 tons a year by Pittsburgh's street trees, valued at $35,424 per year, or $1. …

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