Researchers at the University of California at Davis and the United States Forest Service have determined that every dollar New York City invests in trees generates $5.60 in benefits.
The study analyzes a tree’s impact on local property values, its contribution to cleaning the air by absorbing carbon dioxide, and how much its shade helps reduce energy consumption. Factoring in the costs associated with planting and upkeep, New York City’s street trees provide an annual benefit of about $122 million.
$5.60 is a decent return- not as high as the $8-$16 that a dollar of early childhood education (the highest return you can get) generates. But it sure beats most money market funds and CDs. It’s high enough that it should turn every fiscal conservative into a conservationist! And it provides the citizens of Milwaukee another reason to appreciate the City’s forestry department and the contributions of its public employees.