Press Releases

Thursday, April 26, 2007
No. 44

Arbor Day Finds 100,000 More Street Trees And More To Come

Just in time for Arbor Day, Parks announces green news–New York City is already 100,000 street trees greener than it was ten years ago, and the City will plant a million more trees under Mayor Bloomberg’s recently announced PlaNYC.

The Parks Department announces the results of the second citywide count of trees that grow on New York City streets and managed by Parks. The 2005-2006 Street Tree Census found 592,130 street trees–a 19% increase over the 1995-1996 census. Thanks to 1,000 volunteers and a sophisticated computer software program, New Yorkers now have a way to quantify the enormous benefits of New York’s street trees–from pollution reduction to savings on air conditioning bills. Street trees provide almost $122 million in benefits annually to City residents and are one of the best investments around–for every $1 Parks spends on planting and maintaining, New York street trees return $5.60 in benefits. A summary, fact sheets, and the report are available here.

“The Tree Census harnessed the power of more than a thousand tree-savvy New Yorkers to count and quantify the benefits of New York’s nearly 600,000 street trees,” said Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “With the good news that we’ll be planting a million trees around the City, we will use this data to identify new locations for street tree planting, and refine our forestry management strategies to keep our trees green and growing.”

Over the past two summers, volunteers fanned out across the City to record information (such as size, species, location, and condition) for every street tree in New York City, logging a total of more than 30,000 volunteer hours. The United States Forest Service analyzed the data using a computer modeling program based on tree growth curves, climate data, and regional patterns of energy use, pollution levels, and building construction to quantify the dollar value of annual environmental and aesthetic benefits of each of the trees surveyed.

On Earth Day, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the City would plant a million more trees in next decade, a quarter of those on New York City streets. For more information about this and other initiatives of PlaNYC, click here.

Trees are important to the City for many reasons beyond shade and the beauty they add to the urban landscape. The total annual benefit of the 592,130 street trees is $122 million, or $209 per tree per year on average. Street trees remove 2,202 tons of air pollution per year, saving the City $11 million. The average tree removes 2 pounds of air pollutants, valued at $9 per tree. The amount of electricity and natural gas consumption is $28 million per year, a savings of $3.41 for New York City resident per year. Trees also intercept rain and reduce storm water runoff by 890.6 million gallons, an estimated value of $35.6 million. Trees also provide aesthetic benefits of $53 million.

Boroughs competed for street tree honors: Queens has 40% of the street trees, while Manhattan has the highest frequency of trees per mile of sidewalk. The most common types of street trees are the London planetree, Norway maple, Callery pear, Honeylocust, and Pin Oak.

Generous sponsors of the Street Tree Census include Bank of America, HP, Verizon Wireless, New York Presbyterian Hospital, The New York Environmental Fund, and Rodale Inc. Visit for more information.

Related Parks

Was this information helpful?