U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell recently traveled to Philadelphia - city of many street trees - to unveil a new version of the service's i-Tree software.
Not quite an app - but the same idea - it helps both planners and regular citizens assess the monetary value of the street trees plus quantify the environmental services the trees provide.
It factors how the trees help with temperature control, with water quality by filtering out contaminants, with air quality by filtering out pollutants, and with climate change by sequestering carbon.
Tidwell calls urban trees "the hardest working trees in America. Urban trees' roots are paved over, and they are assaulted by pollution and exhaust, but they keep working for us."
According to the Forest Service, one recent i-Tree study found that street trees in Minneapolis provided $25 million in benefits ranging from energy savings to increased property values. Urban planners in Chattanooga, Tenn., were able to show that for every dollar invested in their urban forests, the city received $12.18 in benefits. New York City used i-Tree to justify $220 million for planting trees during the next decade.
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/21/2126243/how-valuable-are-your-street-trees.html#ixzz1HLZ8ea6p