Benefits of Trees and Urban Forests: A Research List

College Park, MD (January 10, 2012)- Trees and urban forests produce enormous benefits for people and communities. They improve our environment, our economy, our health, and our quality of life. Research by top scientists has begun to quantify the diverse benefits of urban forests, proving the many ways trees enhance our cities and towns. Alliance for Community Trees has compiled these statistics into Benefits of Trees and Urban Forests: A Research List.

This document is intended to help local tree advocates make the case for trees in their communities. It may be consulted as a resource when drafting reports, writing grants, speaking with elected officials, educating neighbors, and reaching out to the press. The information inside tells the story of trees in dollars and cents, in pounds and percents, with compelling data about why maintaining and growing a healthy urban forest is a smart, sustainable investment. For example:

  • Urban trees in the U.S. remove 711,000 tons of air pollution annually, at a value of $3.8 billion.
  • Street trees in Minneapolis save $9.1 million in stormwater treatments annually.
  • Trees in New York City provide $5.60 in benefits for every $1 spent on tree planting and care.
  • The net cooling effect of a healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.

Benefits of Trees and Urban Forests: A Research List includes over 150 tree benefits and facts, ranging from the national to the hyper-local level, and all with complete scientific citations. The benefits of urban forests speak to the monetary, social, and ecological value of trees to human society, and are grouped by category:

  • Green Infrastructure Benefits
  • Public Health Benefits
  • Transportation Benefits
  • Business Benefits
  • Property Value Benefits
  • Climate Change and Carbon Benefits
  • Energy Use Benefits
  • Community Benefits
  • Wildlife and Biodiversity
  • Canopy Cover Facts

Alliance for Community Trees member organizations are working to bring these benefits of trees and urban forests to their communities nationwide. Together, we are tangibly improving the health and livability of towns and cities, large and small, by planting, protecting, and caring for trees.Have a question about Benefits of Trees and Urban Forests: A Research List or know of a benefit that wasn’t included? Contact us at

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Benefits of Trees and Urban Forests: A Research List