TREECONOMICS: “We can now calculate the exact value of a tree, from shade to beauty. Doing so could be the best way to protect them – and plan the forests of the future,” wrote Simon Usborne in the NewScientist

Treeconomics: How to put a fair price tag on urban forests

“Recently, a band of ‘treeconomists’ have begun to put a fair price tag on trees, accounting for the services they provide, from keeping our buildings cool to preventing skin cancer. The results are sometimes startlingly large,” wrote Simon Usborne in an article published by the NewScientist.

“When trees hit the headlines, it is often in the context of deforestation. But in most developed countries, forests have actually been advancing over the past few decades (see “Green divide”). And the trend shows no signs of abating.”

“The easy argument often made in favour of trees is that they are ineffably lovely. But that doesn’t cut much ice when set against the cost of upkeep and repairs. What is important is the trees’ economic benefits. Calculating those, it turns out, is a rather vexed question.”

Tree valuations are starting to spread. The next step, wrote Simon Usborne, is to “use the valuations as a way to forecast the value of services different trees will provide in the future. That gives us a tool to help plan tomorrow’s forests.”

To Learn More:

To read the complete article by Simon Usborne, download a copy of Treeconomics: How to put a fair price tag on urban forests, published in May 2018.

Simon Usborne is a freelance feature writer and reporter based in London. He was previously a feature writer and an editor at The Independent