A recent study by the Northeast-Midwest State Foresters Alliance highlights the economic impact of urban forestry in states across the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States. It is difficult to calculate the true value of a tree fully, as their impacts extend far beyond the value of their lumber. In urban communities perhaps one of the most valuable services of trees is air quality improvement.
Trees capture and sequester many of the airborne compounds created by burning fossil fuels such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and sulfur dioxide. By removing these compounds from the air in urban communities, trees are able to reduce some of the health risks associated with poor air quality in urban communities. In Maine, urban forests save approximately 17.57 million dollars per year in air pollution removal and 54.6 million per year in carbon sequestration.
Urban trees also reduce water pollution by preventing erosion and run off caused by stormwater flow in neighborhoods. Increased storm intensity and rising sea levels caused by global climate change has increased the need for run off mitigation. It is estimated in Maine that urban forests reduce damages and pollutants caused by stormwater by 11.6 million per year.
Management of these urban forests employs 5,056 individuals in the State of Maine with a total labor income value of 117 million. Jobs categorized as urban forest management jobs include jobs in the private sector such as tree services, greenhouse growers and landscapers in addition to state and federal jobs.