Missouri’s 2010 Street Tree Economics

Date Published: 

Saturday, December 31, 2011


  • Thomas Treiman
  • Nick Kuhn

Paper Summary/Abstract: 

To promote the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Community Forestry Program and help communities foresters need to help community decision-makers visualize forest resources as an infrastructure asset. The Community Forestry Program targets city and county governments, arborists, non-profit organizations, regional planning councils, the nursery industry, homeowners and other groups with an interest in managing community trees. Forestry Division annually spends ~ $440,000 in cost-share programs such as Tree Resource Improvements and Maintenance (TRIM). Understanding barriers to active management will allow MDC to target TRIM dollars to gain the greatest return.

In 2010 statewide measurement of community-owned street trees in Missouri collected physical tree attributes which can characterize their economic value. Community tree values are “public goods;” they do not come with a price tag attached but they benefit the entire community. Economists have many methods for estimating a dollar value of such public goods. The Forest Service has created software called “i-Tree,” a peer-reviewed package that provides urban and community forestry analysis and benefits assessment. i-Tree helps communities understand the environmental services trees provide. i-Tree has been used by communities, non-profit organizations and consultants to report on the urban forest at various scales from individual trees to entire states.

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Urban forestry