Valuing London’s Urban Forest

Report Summary

We know that maintaining and improving London’s urban forest has considerable public support, but also that much of the urban forest has grown and matured over many years in conditions very different from the cityscape of today. Consequently, we need to have a good understanding of the structure and value of London’s urban forest to ensure that we are implementing appropriate management, maintenance and planting regimes that will result in maintaining and increasing the canopy cover over time.

A first and necessary step is to better understand the current structure, composition and distribution of London’s urban forest, in order to obtain a baseline from which to set goals and to monitor progress. Furthermore, by measuring the structure of the urban forest (the physical attributes such tree density, tree health, leaf area and biomass), the benefits of the urban forest can also be determined, and the value of these benefits calculated and expressed in monetary terms.

With the value of the resource expressed in ways that provide a new perspective on the benefits of London’s urban forest, we can make more informed decisions about its management and maintenance, and encourage the investment needed to deliver improvements to London’s environment and the health of Londoners.

To achieve this better understanding of London’s urban forest the RE:LEAF partnership has undertaken an urban forest assessment using the i-Tree Eco Tool. This report presents the outcome of this assessment. It provides a quantitative baseline of the air pollution, carbon storage and sequestration benefits of trees as well as the amenity and stormwater benefits they provide. This is supported with detailed information on the structure and composition of London’s urban forest.

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Treeconomics is the go-to organisation for the valuing of trees in towns and cities. We specialise in all aspects of urban forest management and offer a range of services, from canopy cover assessments through to comprehensive management plans.