Publication Details

The urban forests of Philadelphia

Nowak, David J.; Bodine, Allison R.; Hoehn, Robert; Ellis, Alexis; Low, Sarah C.; Roman, Lara A.; Henning, Jason G.; Stephan, Emily; Taggert, Tom; Endreny, Ted.

Year Published

2016

Publication

Resource Bulletin NRS-106. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 80 p.

Abstract

An analysis of the urban forest in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, reveals that this city has an estimated 2.9 million trees (encompassing all woody plants greater than 1 inch diameter at breast height [d.b.h]) with tree canopy that covers 20 percent of the city. The most common tree species are spicebush, black cherry, ash, tree-of-heaven, and boxelder, but the most dominant species in terms of leaf area are sycamore spp. (including London planetree), northern red oak, black walnut, red maple, and Norway maple. Trees in Philadelphia currently store about 702,000 tons of carbon (2.6 million tons of carbon dioxide [CO2]) valued at $93.4 million. In addition, these trees remove about 27,000 tons of carbon per year (99,000 tons CO2/year) ($3.6 million per year) and about 513 tons of air pollution per year ($19.0 million per year). Philadelphia’s urban forest is estimated to reduce annual residential energy costs by $6.9 million per year. The compensatory value of the trees is estimated at $1.7 billion. The city's parklands constitute 9.3 percent of the total land area, have an estimated 1.1 million trees, 64 percent canopy cover, and account for 38.8 percent of carbon storage and 34.8 percent of air pollution removal performed by the city's urban forest. The information presented in this report can be used by local organizations to advance urban forest policies, planning and management to improve environmental quality and human health in Philadelphia.

Citation

Nowak, David J.; Bodine, Allison R.; Hoehn III, Robert E.; Ellis, Alexis; Low, Sarah C.; Roman, Lara A.; Henning, Jason G.; Stephan, Emily; Taggert, Tom; Endreny, Ted. 2016. The urban forests of Philadelphia. Resource Bulletin NRS-106. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 80 p.

Last updated on: December 30, 2016