Vancouver is known for its picturesque scenery, which includes year-round greenery that can be found in many urban parks, lining our streets and in our own back yards. The region’s trees play a role in attracting tourists and improving property values while contributing to quality of life.
But beyond these advantages there exist some economic benefits of our urban forests. According to a TD report released September 24 – National Tree Day – the urban forests around Metro Vancouver provide a yearly financial benefit of $225 million per year, making Vancouver’s forests the most valuable in the country.
The majority of these benefits come from the foliage’s improvements to air quality around the city. The study estimates that this provides almost $116 million in benefits to Metro Vancouver, due to the trees’ ability to remove pollutants from the air.
It is estimated that urban forests eliminate almost 90% of nitrogen dioxide emissions and more than 10% of carbon monoxide pollution released by industry in the region. They play a role in removing carbon, ozone, sulphur dioxide and small particulate matter while producing oxygen.
The city’s greenery also contribute more than $96 million in benefits due to its role in wet-weather flow reduction. Root systems and forest canopies lessen stress on city infrastructure due to erosion reduction and precipitation absorption, which decreases the amount of pollution entering Metro Vancouver’s water system.
Trees also play a role in energy savings, although this is a much lower factor for Metro Vancouver than it is for other cities around the country, due in large part to the region’s mild climate.