More than Shade: Urban Forest at OSU Provides Nearly $1 Million in Benefits

Ohio State’s urban forest is already providing us with nearly $1 million in annual benefits.
The new i-Tree software suite from the USDA Forest Service provides planners with a peer-reviewed, professional means of calculating the annual ecological benefits of trees. These benefits can be calculated for storm water savings, pollution removal, carbon sequestration and more. This includes documented energy and water treatment savings.
Currently, Ohio State is incorporating this information into a sustainable urban forestry initiative. Through a careful understanding of these ecological processes, Ohio State can maximize its environmental benefits through improved campus tree management. By conducting a census of trees on campus, Ohio State can quantify these ecological benefits and savings and incorporate them into management plans for our campus as a whole.
The university has also established a tree care committee. This panel, consisting of technical experts from a gamut of related fields, is currently in the process of finalizing a campus tree care plan.
Our university is also making strides towards becoming a Tree Campus USA school. This accreditation is provided through the Arbor Day Foundation and is awarded to schools that demonstrate a commitment to preserving and enhancing their urban forests. Look for the ArboBlitz event in fall 2011, where students, faculty, alumni, and industry professionals with combine to conduct our first annual tree census. This synergistic approach promotes student involvement and community awareness of benefits of urban forestry.
We recommend that the university create a Tree Advisory Committee to help effectively manage campus trees and therefore increase the annual environmental benefit.

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