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Calculating the Value of Boulder's Urban Forest

Imagining the City of Boulder without trees is difficult to do. Trees are an integral part of the urban ecosystem, yet often taken for granted. Most of us recognize the aesthetic value of trees in urban areas and can appreciate the shade they provide during hot summer months, but are only vaguely aware of the myriad environmental benefits that they offer.

As Boulder has grown and developed, so too has the "urban forest". More than 330,000 trees have been planted here over the last century and a half and now cover 23% of urban areas. The semi-arid environment (historical average rainfall in this area is only 18 inches) is not conducive to the green infrastructure of an urban forest; certainly this forest would not have flourished without human care and the development of a complex irrigation system. Large trees native to the Plains include the cottonwood, willow, hackberry and little else, and require a generous supply of water. Prior to settlement these trees could only survive in close proximity to streams and creeks, otherwise known as riparian areas. Presently, we have over 100 different species existing throughout the City, not only lining the banks of creeks and ditches, but also along the streets of residential, commercial, and industrial areas, as well as in public parks.

In October of 2002 the City of Boulder Water Conservation Office produced the following report Calculating the Value of Boulder's Urban Forest which quantifies the myriad benefits of Boulder's Urban Forest and the specific roles this resource provides in maintaining Boulder's environmental quality. For more information on this report please contact the City of Boulder Water Conservation Office

Calculating the Value of Boulder's Urban Forest.

The Front Range's urban forest has originated for a variety of different reasons, but Boulder still reaps the benefit of trees planted over the last 100 years. In order to continue to receive these benefits, we must not only work at maintaining our urban forest as it exists now, by replacing all removed trees with new ones, but must also look for new planting opportunities.

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Last Page Update - Thursday January 01, 2009