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How Much Are Trees Worth to Megacities?

Leafy infrastructure saves bustling metropolises about $505 million each year, according to new research.
Pedestrians walk past illuminated trees on a rainy night in Tokyo.
Pedestrians walk past illuminated trees on a rainy night in Tokyo. Thomas Peter/Reuters

In a metropolis teeming with shuffling crowds, cranes and high-rises shouldn’t be the only things reaching skywards. Megacities—those urban centers crammed with more than 10 million people—would be well served to double down on their arboreal assets, according to a new paper in the upcoming issue of the journal Ecological Modeling.

A team of researchers led by Theodore Endreny of SUNY’s College of Environmental Studies and Forestry sought to quantify how leafy infrastructure pays dividends in 10 chock-full cities—and the extent to which the benefits could compound if those areas went greener.