Urban Landscapes Changing For The Worse

Millions Of Trees Are Disappearing Every Year

June 8, 2018



A five-year study of U.S. cities found that trees are disappearing at a rate of 36-million, or 175,000 acres, each year. In fact, every state saw the number of trees dwindle except for Mississippi, Montana, and New Mexico. And the increase there was so small, it was considered "nonsignificant". The biggest losses on a percentage basis were in Rhode Island, Georgia, Alabama and Nebraska.

U.S. Forest Service scientists David Nowak and Eric Greenfield wrote the new report. They've been following "urban forests" for years. Their previous research found similar results, which suggests the loss of these forested areas in U.S. cities is ongoing and not just a blip in the data. They estimate these losses add up to around $96-million. However, that's likely well under the actual cost when you consider that trees also add thousands of dollars to home values, help lower crime rates, and reduce stress. Trees planted near schools have even been shown to improve students' test scores.

The research team used Google Earth imagery to examine 1,000 randomly chosen points in each state for a before-and-after comparison over a five-year period.