Innovation That Matters

NYC calculates financial value of the city’s trees


Run by the Parks and Recreation department, the New York City Street Tree Map provides information about every city tree and calculates the ecological benefits.

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The New York City Street Tree Map measures the financial value provided by each city tree. Mapped by thousands of volunteers in a 2015 tree census, the map is searchable by borough, neighborhood, species and size of tree. Run by the New York City Parks and Recreation department, the site brings to life the value of the trees as a public asset. With annual economic benefits to the City in excess of USD 110 million, the trees also provide other benefits, like reducing noise and supporting urban wildlife.

The site is updated daily by the Forestry team, and residents are encouraged to help take care of their local trees. Guides on how to take part in stewardship activities are available, and the Parks and Recreation department asks that volunteers record their work on the site. Records of the care taken of each tree will be kept and added to its permanent history.

The importance of trees to human life is well understood. Now, technology projects are finding ways to make sure that knowledge is translated into action. Reforestation drones are attempting to plant one billion trees per year, and trees in one city are hosting connected birdhouses. How else could the many functions provided by trees be more clearly linked to day-to-day life?





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