An economic value assessment of ecological services in the tree community at Winona State University Arboretum

B. Borsari, N. Mundahl, G. Landby, L. Mueller
Trees possess intrinsic and extrinsic attributes that contribute to enhancing high environmental standards in a majority of landscapes, also while improving quality of life for human communities and other biota. Winona State University was recognized recently as a Tree Campus USA, the only institution of higher education within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system to achieve this distinct honor. To retain this honorable recognition, a tree inventory was conducted during fall 2015 to evaluate, more tangibly, the economic benefits of its campus tree community and also to develop a data base that could assist with future management practices of this newly established Arboretum. Assessing tree density, size (DBH), diversity, and overall condition of this community (n=1,482) allowed the researchers to estimate a monetary value of the more specific ecological services that are provided by trees. In this study, we considered the potential economic value in reference to: energy savings, storm water capture, esthetic value, air quality, and carbon sequestration. The total annual value provided by trees on our campus, based on the five variables, was estimated to be $90,974, whereas the total annual cost for maintaining (e.g., pruning, replacement) the tree community was $18,553. This suggests that for every $1.00 spent on trees in 2015, Winona State University gained $4.90 in return. This study demonstrates that there are tangible economic benefits in maintaining a healthy arboretum at our institution, besides enhancing educational and research endeavors for students and more educational opportunities for the Winona community.
Borsari, B., Mundahl, N., Landby, G. and Mueller, L. (2018). An economic value assessment of ecological services in the tree community at Winona State University Arboretum. Acta Hortic. 1191, 153-160
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1191.21
education, landscape, Tree Campus USA, trees value, urban environment

Acta Horticulturae