Cities across the country are adopting plans to expand their urban tree canopies, aiming to improve the aesthetics, safety, and health of their neighborhoods. Ohio is no exception to this trend, with the cities of Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland all adopting plans with quantified canopy commitments. Tree planting programs have been argued to be good for the environment, public health, and aesthetic beauty of communities that justify the cost of planting and pruning trees. In this cost-benefit analysis, this study estimates the specific economic benefits and costs a treeplanting campaign will generate for eight Ohio cities: Athens, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Findlay, Toledo, and Youngstown.
Overall, this study estimates that tree planting will cost Ohio communities $10.29 per tree, while economic present benefits from carbon sequestration, stormwater runoff prevented, air pollution reduced, energy saved, and crime reduced range from about $10-21 per tree depending on the city. The total net benefits of policy expanding canopy cover after discounting could be as much as $110 million for one city. Beyond the economic benefits, this study also finds that expanding canopy cover by just 10% could prevent as many as hundreds of crimes depending on the city, increase home value, and cause a variety of physical and mental health benefits.