Statewide tree inventory tallies value and benefits of Montana’s - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Statewide tree inventory tallies value and benefits of Montana’s urban forests

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MISSOULA, Mont. –  Which tree pest threatens nearly one-third of Montana’s urban trees? How many trees does the city of Helena manage? How much would it cost to replace all of Kalispell’s urban trees? What’s the monetary value of the benefits provided by trees in Butte, Cascade, Glasgow, or Miles City?

Thanks to the recently-completed State of Community Trees in Montana, residents and community leaders across Montana can find answers to these and other questions.

“Public trees are a vital component of the infrastructure and character of our communities,” said Jamie Kirby, manager of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s (DNRC) Urban and Community Forestry Program. “The statewide assessment provides a set of benchmarks to help cities and towns make management decisions and create long-term strategies for their urban forests.”

The report analyzes data on tree species, size, age, location, condition and other factors in 61 communities, Kirby said. It calculates the benefits provided by trees in each community, including energy savings from electricity and natural gas usage, atmospheric carbon reduction, property value, stormwater runoff reduction, and contributions to human and economic health.

A fact sheet for each community summarizes the most common tree species, their replacement value, the benefits provided by the urban forest, and discusses the potential loss of trees to the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect known to devastate ash tree species. 

Kirby added the inventory was funded in part through a U.S. Forest Service program; the Davey Resource Group conducted the analysis.

Both the State of Community Trees in Montana, along with a more in-depth report called Urban Forestry Resource Analysis, as well as the individual community fact sheets, can be found on the DNRC website at http://dnrc.mt.gov/divisions/forestry/forestry-assistance/urban-and-community-forestry/statewide-urban-forest-inventory.

The report comes as communities across the U.S. prepare to celebrate Arbor Day on Friday, April 27, 2018. Montana will hold its state celebration on Friday, May 11, 2018, in the city of Anaconda.

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