Urban forests—and urban forestry—can play a key role in addressing some of the central challenges facing urban regions, such as climate change, education and youth engagement, the rising costs for health care, and wastewater management. Addressing these issues requires new partnerships and new approaches. This project undertakes to substantially broaden the constituency for and relevancy of urban forestry and elevate it in the eyes of policymakers and the public.
Across the region, urban forests are estimated to contain about 6.9 million trees with an estimated structural asset value of $4.3 billion. Beyond aesthetics, urban forests also provide innumerable other services that affect both the local physical environment and the social environment in the places we live, work, learn and play including:
Trees trap and filter harmful emissions and pollutants by exchanging gases with the atmosphere and capturing particulates such as ozone and carbon monoxide in their leaves.
Water quality and flow
It is estimated that 100 mature trees intercept about 250,000 gallons of rainwater per year, reducing stormwater run-off and providing clean water.
Erosion control and soil quality
Tree roots decrease erosion by holding the soil in place and remediate soils by absorbing, transforming, and containing contaminants.
Wildlife habitat and biodiversity
The urban forest provide shelter and food for a variety of birds and animals, increasing the biodiversity of urban natural systems.
Real estate and property values
Trees in urban residential areas can enhance real estate sales by 3 to 7 percent.
Healthy mature trees are a major economic asset for attracting and retaining residents, businesses and visitors.
Trees contribute to regional tourism, boosting visitation to many of the region’s most popular natural attractions.
Local climate and energy use
Trees influence thermal comfort and energy use by providing shade, transpiring moisture, and reducing wind speed.
Community well-being and involvement
Trees and landscaping create pedestrian-friendly streets, increasing the attractiveness of walking and active living, and have even been shown to lower crime primarily by bringing people together outdoors, increasing surveillance and discouraging criminal activity.
Individual and community health
Urban forests and greenways have significant, positive health influences, providing a wide range of physiological and psychological benefits that contribute to healthy communities.
Read more on the Bi-State Urban Forestry Strategy project page.