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Urban forests:Conservation strategy to increase ecosystem services & urban wellbein

Key Message

Planting more trees in potential tree cover areas could nearly double the benefits provided by the urban forest.


Endreny, T. et al. (2017). Implementing and managing urban forests: A much needed conservation strategy to increase ecosystem services and urban wellbeing. Ecological Modelling. 360(24 September 2017):328-335. DOI:


This research estimated existing and potential, tree cover, and its contribution to ecosystem services in 10 megacity metropolitan areas, across 5 different continents and biomes. Estimates for each megacity using local data were used to transform i-Tree Eco estimates of tree cover benefits to reductions in air pollution, stormwater, building energy, and carbon emissions for London, UK. The transformation used biophysical scaling equations based on local megacity tree cover, human population, air pollution, climate, energy use, and purchasing power parity. 


The megacity metropolitan areas ranged from 1173 to 18,720 sq km (median value 2530 sq km), with median tree cover 21%, and potential tree cover another 19% of the city. Megacities had a median tree cover density of 39 m2/capita, much smaller than the global average value of 7800 m2/capita, with density lower in desert and tropical biomes, and higher in temperate biomes. The present median benefit value from urban trees in all 10 megacities can be estimated as $482 million/yr due to reductions in CO, NO2, SO2, PM10, and PM2.5, $11 million/yr due to avoided stormwater processing by wastewater facilities, $0.5 million/yr due to building energy heating and cooling savings, and $8 million/yr due to CO2 sequestration. 

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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