Trees Grow Healthy Communities
Trees are a wise investment for the City of Spokane.
Spokane’s urban forest provides many economic, health and environmental benefits for city residents and businesses. Trees produce oxygen, and filter airborne particulates thus improving Spokane’s air quality. A healthy urban forest will improve water quality and reduce storm water runoff to save city residents several millions annually, just in storm water mitigation fees.
A mature tree canopy provides shade, contributes to summer cooling, and moderates the affects of wind in the urban environment. This reduces energy consumption and costs, saving Spokane residents thousands of dollars yearly. Trees also impart a distinctive character and beauty to our city, enrich the aesthetic experience of the community, soften and screen urban development, provide habitat for wildlife, and add to area history, civic pride and involvement.
Trees offer many economic benefits like increasing property and business values, attracting tourists, businesses, and residents, resulting in more city revenue. As Spokane becomes more urbanized and sprawls into rural areas, our urban forest and woodlots become increasingly important. Educating area residents as to the importance of our urban canopy is one of the objectives of the City of Spokane Urban Forestry Program.
How much can we save?
The following are figures for 8,749 public city trees inventoried by Spokane Urban Forestry staff. The benefits are calculated using tree valuation software which breaks down various benefits based on tree species, health, and age. The information is an especially useful tool to evaluate our tree population and provide input for management decisions. These figures will likely increase at least sevenfold when the city wide population of approximately 78,000 public trees is inventoried.
- $44,360.00 is saved annually in heating and cooling costs.
- Trees absorb and store 35,093,248 lbs. of CO2 a year resulting in health benefits worth $9,934.
- The air and soil pollutants absorbed by 8,749 trees save us $23,789 yearly.
- $412,533 is saved in stormwater mitigation by rain interception and storage. The Ponderosa Pine population alone saves the city $210,149 a year.
- Trees beautify Spokane, attracting more tourists, and businesses, lowering crime rates, increasing marketability and mental health at a value of $678,442 annually.
- You can calculate the benefits of trees on your property or the right-of-way by using the National Tree Benefit Calculator.
Trees give us many benefits that are equally important but are not easily converted to dollar savings. A few examples are listed below. Find out more HERE at the Human Dimensions of Urban Forestry and Urban Greening website created by Dr. Kathleen L. Wolf, Ph.D., of the University of Washington.
- Research has shown pavement shaded by trees will last 10 years longer than exposed pavement. This results in less maintenance saving material and labor costs.
- People are more likely to shop in business districts with treescaping and are likely to spend more. Read more.....
- Patients with even just a view of greenery: parks, gardens, and/or trees heal faster. Read more......
- Trees provide a wealth of wildlife habitat and are especially important in urban areas as connections to open space and wild areas.
- Vehicles on freeways and highways can produce noise that exceeds 100 decibels. Dense plantings of trees and shrubs can reduce this noise by 6-15 decibels.