Thursday, January 21, 2010

Estimated Tree Valuation of Transmission Line Clearing

Based on numbers gathered during recent research, I have generated this yearly valuation estimate of the ecosystem services loss due to tree clear cutting:

How much land is affected?
25 miles (estimated distance north to south - the "height" of - Westchester County based upon Google Maps). 75 feet - average width of ROW along Catskill Aqueduct. Converted to acres, this is approximately 225 acres of clear cutting which has occurred in Westchester alone along this one transmission line.

How many trees is this?
According to the US Forest Service, the average number of trees per acre of woodland can range from anywhere from 100 to 1000+ trees, depending upon geographic location, tree density and specific site conditions. Let's use 100 trees as a conservative number of medium to large trees only. This results in an estimated total of 22,500 trees.

What is the ecosystem services value of these trees?
1 acre of forest can absorb 6 tons of carbon, ?? tons of pollutants, produce 4 tons of oxygen, and provide substantial stormwater mitigation & absorption. This does not include factors such as temperature moderation effects and shade/wind benefits or noise abatement, nor does it attempt to provide a wildlife habitat services valuation.

The estimated that the effective ecosystem value of a tree ranges from $25 (sapling) to $2500 (mature tree) per year. Using an average value of $250/year/tree, a conservative estimation of the yearly ecosystem valuation for the tree loss is: $5,625,000.

This "loss" is ultimately picked up by homeowners and local municipalities when dealing with the effects of the clear cut as they "diffuse" through the local environment.

2 comments:

-mg- said...

Other interesting factoids gleaned during recent research:

An increase of 5% added tree canopy coverage (in urban/ suburban situation) can result in 2% decrease in storm water runoff.

An average 32 foot high tree can absorb 327 gallons in runoff (per ?? interval).

For best ecosystem services, including stormwater runoff abatement, 40% of an urban region should have tree canopy coverage. 20% of this should be large - mature - trees.

Heartbroken in Hartsdale said...

Good Luck Sprain Brook Parkway!