Our neighborhood trees provide many benefits, including improved aesthetics, wildlife habitat, increased property values and energy savings. i-Tree is a software suite from the U.S. Forest Service that helps quantify the structure of trees and forests to determine the benefits that trees provide. i-Tree Canopy was recently used to assess the tree canopy within Buena Park.
i-Tree Canopy analysis showed that about 16.6% of Buena Park is covered in tree canopy. This is below the average of 21% for the entire Chicago region determined through a 2013 study. This is not too surprising, since the whole-Chicago study included dense urban areas like Buena Park but also more natural areas such as forest preserves. 16.6% canopy is therefore respectable given the urban nature of the neighborhood, and higher than many similar areas in the city of Chicago. But it shows that we also have some room to grow!
Benefits of Our Trees
Benefits of urban trees measured by i-Tree Canopy include carbon sequestration, ozone removal and particulate matter removal. The total benefit for each of these within Buena Park is below:
Carbon Dioxide stored in trees – 3,748.16 tons ($135,632.54)
Carbon Dioxide sequestered annually in trees – 148.66 tons ($5,378.80)
Ozone removed annually – 1,460.18 lbs.
Particulate Matter less than 2.5 microns removed annually – 70.95 lbs.
Other benefits, such as aesthetics and wildlife habitat, are not as easily measured. But as we can see, our trees add a lot to our neighborhood.