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Trees in Megacities Worth $500 Million Per Year
Study from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry


The research from the State University of New York looked at ten megacities: Beijing, China; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cairo, Egypt; Istanbul, Turkey; London, Great Britain (pictured here from the London Eye); Los Angeles, United States; Mexico City, Mexico; Moscow, Russia; Mumbai, India; and Tokyo, Japan. These cities are home to about 10 percent of the world's population.

Trees provide megacities with about $500 million each year with services that make urban environments cleaner, more affordable, and nicer places to live, according to new research from the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Trees reduce air pollution, stormwater runoff, energy costs, and carbon emissions. The estimated benefit from urban trees in the ten megacities studied included $482 million per year due to reductions in pollutants, $11 million per year in avoided stormwater processing, $0.5 million per year in energy costs, and $8 million per year for carbon dioxide sequestration.

The researchers estimated that the benefits can be increased by an average of 85 percent if the megacities establish trees in what the researchers called the potential tree cover area, the spaces which were suitable for trees but did not have any. The potential tree cover area ranged from 15.6 percent (Cairo, Egypt) to 24 percent (Los Angeles, California) with an average of 17.8 percent, meaning that these cities can increase their tree cover by this percentage.

The tree canopy in the cities studied ranged from 8.1 percent (Cairo) to 36 percent (Moscow, Russia), with an average of 20.9 percent. In addition, the cities studied represent different biomes (Mediterranean, desert, temperate grasslands or forest, and tropical).

The full study is available at

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August 21, 2019, 4:28 pm PDT

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