Public tree programs: budgeting

Park and roadside trees are valuable community assets that deserve sufficient funding to keep them safe, attractive, and functional. Some cities allocate a portion of permit and inspection fee revenue for urban forestry. Some require other municipal departments to kick in a portion of their budget. Some consider trees a runoff-management tool that’s legitimately funded via their stormwater utility fee.

Unlike other municipal infrastructure assets, trees appreciate in value every year. The return on investment of public funds is almost always positive. Unfortunately, most people consider the urban forest a luxury rather than a necessity.

The U.S. Forest Service funded Detroit’s first inventory of street trees, which have been decimated by Dutch elm disease and emerald ash borer. Mapping assets and their condition provides accurate data with which you can create a realistic urban forestry budget.

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