Trees in the city of Phoenix provide $9.4 million in annual benefit to residents in air quality, storm water management, energy savings, shade and aesthetics, according to the city of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department.

The benefit has been calculated using I-Tree, a program developed through a partnership between U.S. Forestry Service, the Society of Municipal Arborists, the Arbor Day Foundation, the International Society of Arboriculture and the Davey Resource Group.

According to the recently published “Desert Southwest Community Tree Guide” average annual benefits increased with mature tree size.

The benefit was $14 to $18 for a small tree, $25 to $30 for a conifer and medium shade tree, and $37 to $43 for a large tree. There are 92,834 trees, palms and tall cactuses in city parks, street landscape and around city facilities.

Mayor Greg Stanton has declared April Arbor Month in the City of Phoenix and April 26 is Arbor Day. The holiday coincides with the completion of a computerized mapping of the trees in the city of Phoenix.

The city of Phoenix has a goal, through its Tree Shade Master Plan, to achieve 25 percent canopy cover over the city by 2030. There is currently between 9 and 13 percent canopy.

Citizens can help grow the urban forest in Phoenix by participating in an Arbor Day activity or just planting a tree on their own property.

More information about the benefits of trees is available online at www.phoenix.gov/parks/parks.

The Center for Urban Forest Research, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, recently published the “Desert Southwest Community Tree Guide,” a quantitative report on the benefits and costs for typical trees in the Southwest.

For a copy of the complete report which explains how these figures were obtained, call Phoenix Urban Forestry at (602) 495-3763.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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