In many locations, trees seem to be a standard part of our physical environment. Whether you are walking down the street in your neighbourhood, visiting downtown, or out in your yard, there is a good chance you will be surrounded by trees. Despite how common trees are, many people are unaware of their many benefits. While it is widely known that trees have the ability to remove carbon dioxide from the air and produce oxygen, other environmental benefits include their ability to reduce airborne particulates and smog, produce a cooling effect through evaporation, filter rainwater, and provide habitats for animals. Important social benefits of trees include the provision of shade, the reduction of stress and blood pressure, and their ability to inspire more outdoor physical activity.
How much is your tree worth?
Believe it or not, the trees in your yard have economic value! Along with all the environmental and social benefits, having trees on your property can significantly increase your property values. Houses on lots with mature trees can be considered up to 20% more desirable to homebuyers. This is due to the aesthetics and functionality trees provide. Not only do mature trees look beautiful, but they provide privacy, shade, and a barrier to strong winds. These qualities are highly sought after in residential areas. Homeowners who recognize these benefits may wish to appraise the monetary value of their trees. The valuation of trees is completed by a qualified consulting arborist who is able to give you an unbiased monetary value of your trees/landscape.
Why get a tree appraisal?
The main reason people choose to have their trees/landscape appraised is due to unexpected damages or losses to one’s trees as a result of weather events, human damage, or destruction. While many people end up getting a tree appraisal after damage has already occurred, the best time to get an appraisal is before any incidents. An accurate tree assessment can be useful for recouping partial or complete losses from your insurance company or an individual at fault.
How do tree appraisals work?
There are three main techniques that are used by professionally trained arborists in order to determine the monetary value of a tree successfully and accurately. These techniques are the cost approach, income approach, and market approach. Depending on the type of property you own and how it is used, one method may be more successful than another.
According to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, “The cost approach puts a dollar value on trees and other plants grown for their landscape value. The income approach considers the value of produce and the market approach considers the increased or decreased value to a property by the presence of the plants.”
Urban tree valuation
In cities, we need to have ways to discuss the benefits of a tree and a means to reparation if contractors, construction activity or individuals damage or destroy urban trees. Having a tree valuation system in place can be an effective tool to promote the protection of an urban forest as it communicates to the community the value of trees in monetary terms, and helps to support the protection of this joint asset.
Why organizations should care
An organization, institution or corporation may have many trees on their property, yet may not have a clear sense of the importance of those trees aside from intangible benefits. This can allow decision-makers to not consider the benefits provided by the trees and simply remove them for new developments or changing needs.
This short-sighted action can have a lasting impact on a property and surrounding neighbourhood as trees take many years and decades to mature. Undertaking a tree valuation study can assist organizations in understanding the lasting real benefits of their trees and provide stronger rationales for protecting and maintaining trees on its properties.
We protect what we value
Does your workplace or city do a good job of protecting its trees? This includes both understanding their value as well as protecting them from physical harm of lawn mowers and snow clearing equipment as well as maintaining them by pruning and protecting from insect attack where possible. Get vocal and protect what matters to you!
Trees: What is your tree worth
Tree appraisals and the value of trees
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