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Economic Value of Environmental Services Provided by The Ohio Shade Tree Evaluation Project at the

Secrest Arboretum
Sebastin Nieto-Senz, Alejandro Chiriboga, and Daniel A. Herms
Trees in urban forests can provide important environmental services to cities such as filtering air
pollutants, sequestering carbon, and mitigating storm runoff. In 1966, the Ohio Shade Tree Evaluation
Project (OSTEP) was established at the Secrest Arboretum at OARDC in order to identify the best species
and cultivars for planting in power line right-of-ways and other urban environments. This study aims to
compare the environmental and economic benefits that the diverse species and cultivars planted in
OSTEP would provide to a city if they were trees of the same size growing as street trees. The i-Tree
Streets v 4.0 software was used to calculate the economic value of the trees based on measurements of
trunk diameter at breast height (DBH) and tree condition. In 2011, the estimated total economic value
of environmental services provided by OSTEP is valued at $38,385. Older and larger trees were found to
provide a higher economic and environmental benefit, with Ulmus parvifolia, Zelkova serrata, and
Quercus robur being the most valuable species.

The Ohio Shade Tree Evaluation Project (OSTEP) was established in 1966 at the Secrest Arboretum
located at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster, OH. The
original plantation included more than 1100 trees that were evaluated to identify desirable
characteristics for planting and survival in urbanized environments (Sydnor, 1983).
Current structural and functional analyses of urban trees provide decisive quantifiable information
needed for the long term sustainability of urban forest management (Nowak et al. 2010). Therefore, an
up-to-date analysis of the environmental services and associated economic values of OSTEP will provide
key ecological and economic benefits that tend to be overlooked.
1. To quantify the environmental services and associated economic values provided by OSTEP at
the Secrest Arboretum.
2. To determine which OSTEP species currently provide the highest environmental and monetary
benefits simulating a lawn-like urban environment.
During October 2011, a complete tree inventory of OSTEP (5.2 ha) was conducted to obtain taxonomic,
growth, condition, and spatial variables following procedures by Chiriboga and Herms (2009) (Fig.1).
Field data including tree species, diameter at breast height (DBH), height, crown width, tree condition,
and GPS coordinates (global positioning system unit Trimble GeoXT) were analyzed using i-Tree Streets
v 4.0 software (USDA Forest Service) assuming trees were located in a lawn-type urban condition.
Results and Discussion
Structure and Composition:
OSTEP currently has 285 individuals (30 genera and 78 species) of which 43% belong to the genera Acer,
Tilia, and Crataegus. The three most abundant species representing 23% of the total number were
Norway maple (Acer platanoides), red maple (Acer rubrum), and littleleaf linden (Tilia cordata). Average
growth values show the high predominance of mature trees currently present (Table. 1).

Total number of trees 285

Average DBH (cm) 39.1

Average tree height (m) 13.9

Average tree crown with (m) 13.3

Basal Area (m
/ha) 7.6

Estimated canopy cover (%) 75

Table 1. Tree characteristics of OSTEP in 2011.
Economic and Environmental Services:
In 2011, the OSTEP environmental services provided a yearly estimated value of USD $38,385 including
aesthetics and other benefits (USD $11,930).
Energy conservation, stormwater remediation, and aesthetics benefits represent approximately 90% of
the total economic value of all the environmental services (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. Economic distribution of the environmental services provided by OSTEP.
Total values of environmental services vary depending on the total number, age, and condition of trees.
For example, the top three species with higher pollution removal values (such as CO, NO
, SO
particulate matter) were red maple (38 Kg/year), Norway maple (22 Kg/year) and small-leaf linden (20
Kg/year). In addition, the estimated total amount of carbon stored by OSTEP is 598 tons of carbon (USD
$9,880) and the estimated annual net carbon sequestration is about 88 tons per year (USD $1456)
(Table 2).
The average economic value per tree is about USD $205, being U. parvifolia, Z. serrata, and Q. robur the
most prized (Table 2), suggesting that the inherit size and longevity of these species are the main factors
in determining environmental benefits. These data are consistent with comparable results on a
streetscape scenario where the use of large growing trees is desired to increase environmental benefits
in urban setting over time (Sydnor and Subburayalu, 2011).
Tree Species Electricity
Gas (GJ)
Value (USD)
parvifolia 3 9 17 5 4 334 557
Zelkova serrata 3 9 17 5 4 334 557
Quercus robur 3 12 34 21 4 840 255
pennsylvanica 8 33 93 43 14 1,889 244
shumardii 4 15 42 24 5 937 240
Betula nigra 4 17 43 18 7 938 225
platyphyllos 3 11 32 15 4 682 216
Acer rubrum 21 86 218 72 38 4,140 202
americana 8 32 80 24 13 1,453 188
saccharinum 4 15 40 12 6 747 188
species) 196 780 1,640 598 303 33,027 205
Table 2. Total annual environmental services of top 10 OSTEP tree species.

The economic value of environmental services provided by OSTEP including aesthetics exceeds
USD $38,000.
The highest environmental values are species-specific.
The highest monetary benefits are provided by large and mature tree species such as Ulmus
parvifolia, Zelkova serrata, and Quercus robur.
For collaboration and technical / field support:
James Chatfield (OSU Extension, Agriculture and Natural Resources).
Cathy Herms, Delmy Sanchez & Rina Meja (Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, OARDC).
Patricia Verdesoto (Department of Entomology, OARDC).
Refences cited:
Chiriboga. A., & Herms, D. 2009. Economic value of environmental services provided by urban street
trees in Wooster, Ohio. ULEP Ecological Landscaping Conference, Cleveland, OH. 1-3 Dec. 2009.
Nowak, D. J., et al. 2010. Sustaining America's urban trees and forests: A forests on the edge report.
Newtown Square, PA: USDA, Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-62.
Sydnor, T. D., & Subburayalu, S. K. 2011. Should we consider expected environmental benefits when
planting larger or smaller tree species? Arboric. Urb. For., 37(4), 167-172.
Sydnor, T. D. 1983. Ohio's shade tree project seeks well adapted trees. Ohio Report, 68, 83-84.