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Trees Count! Boroughs

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Citywide, the 2005-2006 census showed that our tree population grew by almost 19% since the last count. A breakdown by borough gives greater detail on the distribution, composition, and condition of our street trees.

The borough with the largest increase in trees counted between the two census efforts is Staten Island (32.5%), followed by Brooklyn (27%) and the Bronx (25%).

Borough 1995-1996 2005-2006 % Increase
Bronx 47,995 60,004 25%
Brooklyn 112,400 142,747 27%
Manhattan 45,793 49,858 9%
Queens 217,111 239,882 10%
Staten Island 75,171 99,639 33%
Bronx (% of population)
Honeylocust13
Norway maple12
London planetree11
Pin oak9
Callery pear8
Brooklyn (% of population)
London planetree24
Norway maple11
Honeylocust9
Pin oak7
Callery pear7
Manhattan (% of population)
Honeylocust23
Callery pear16
Gingko10
London planetree8
Littleleaf linden6
Queens (% of population)
Norway maple18
London planetree14
Pin oak8
Callery pear7
Honeylocust7
Staten Island (% of population)
Callery pear25
London planetree10
Red maple9
Norway maple8
Pin oak7

Species. London planetree may be the most common species citywide, but it is number one only in Brooklyn (23.6%). In the Bronx and Manhattan, honeylocust is the most plentiful street tree (12.9% and 23.3% respectively), while in Queens the honor still goes to the Norway maple (18.3%). The top five street tree species in each borough are shown in the charts to the left.

Diversity. The more species comprise a population, the less impact pests and diseases can have on the health and vitality of the whole population. A population that lacks species diversity is termed a monoculture. A general rule of thumb when measuring diversity is to assemble a population with no greater than 10% of any species. Another measure of diversity is the extent to which a single species dominates a population. In general, no one species should exceed 25% of a population. By this measure, Brooklyn (London planetree), Manhattan (honeylocust), and Staten Island (Callery pear) show significant dominance by the most plentiful species.

Condition. Just over 90% of the trees were rated in good to excellent condition, with the remaining trees judged to be in poor condition (8.3%) or dead (1.4%). Staten Island has the highest number of trees in good and excellent condition (94%), with Brooklyn (91%) and Queens (90%) close behind. The Bronx had the highest number of trees in poor and dead categories (12%), followed by Manhattan (11.3%) and Queens (10%).

Conflicts. Overhead wires are the predominant urban infrastructure that conflict with trees in all neighborhoods in New York City with the exception of Manhattan. More than 35% of the City’s street trees are growing under wires. Other urban conflicts common to street trees are listed below.

Preliminary Management Observations. With the data from the census, there are a few key insights that have begun to emerge that will help us as we go forward:

  • London planetree is our most important species and should always have some representation in our tree population;
  • Almost 31% of our street tree species are susceptible to the Asian Longhorned beetle and our planting practices need to continue to strive for increased diversity, and reduced susceptibility to pests and diseases;
  • Large, canopy trees confer the most benefits and we need to continue to focus on planting large tree species that will successfully mature.
 
Borough Damaged Sidewalks Canopy Debirs Choking Wires Close Paving Choking Grate Tree Lights Electric Outlet
Bronx 8,867 879 1,858 2,232 270 203 353
Brooklyn 28,424 2,625 3,632 17,436 1,070 554 172
Manhattan 2,984 1,451 772 1,373 1,193 771 929
Queens 49,245 2,034 6,161 18,258 813 702 324
Staten Island 11,309 352 1,442 4,110 572 296 97
Citywide Total 100,829 7,341 13,865 43,409 3,918 2,526 1,875

Tree Benefits. The value of the street trees in each borough can be quantified in terms of the amount of air pollution removed, emissions avoided, stormwater runoff intercepted, and energy saved. In addition, street trees increase property values. The dollar value of the trees in each borough are shown below (in 000s).

Tree Benefits Details (in 000s)

Borough Energy CO2 Air Quality Stormwater Property Values Total
Bronx $2,699 $73 $505 $3,300 $5,339 $11,916
Brooklyn $7,352 $195 $1,378 $9,409 $12,697 $31,031
Manhattan $1,646 $42 $293 $1,804 $4,411 $8,196
Queens $12,308 $342 $2,375 $16,238 $21,567 $52,830
Staten Island $3,814 $103 $719 $4,877 $8,478 $17,991
Total $27,818 $755 $5,270 $35,628 $52,492 $121,964

PlaNYC

  • Mayor Bloomberg’s vision for a greener, greater New York City includes the following programs to enhance our urban forest infrastructure:
  • $40 million in total funding to fix over 20,000 sidewalks that are severely damaged by tree roots in a way that promotes tree and sidewalk longevity.
  • $2 million each year to remove stumps as part of the new tree planting process.