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San Francisco Bay Area 'State of the urban forest' report available

The USDA Forest Service Center for Urban Forest Research has published a report about the state of the Urban Forest in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The authors are Jim Simpson and Greg McPherson.The report summarized a research project that had three main goals: to describe the historic changes to the region’s urban canopy cover and amount of impervious surface; to quantify the value of ecosystem services the current forest provides; and to estimate the future benefits based on possible expansion of the urban forest.  This information will enhance our understanding of the relevance of urban forests and of the extent to which they affect the environmental and economic health of Bay area communities. Some of the more interesting findings in the study include the following:

    • Urbanization has lead to a 10 percent increase in canopy cover over the last 20 years, but also a 17 percent increase in impervious surfaces.Total annual benefits for the region were estimated at $5.1 billion per year!
    • A modest increase of just 3 percent in the urban forest canopy will increase annual benefits by $475 million or $69 for each person in the Bay area.

For those interested in the historic changes in the urban forests of the San Francisco Bay area and the benefits the trees provide, this document provides a wealth of information.  The report can be downloaded at :


Live Oak The Atherton Tree Committee is a volunteer, non-profit, community based organization dedicated to the preservation of Atherton's heritage trees. The committee participates in a variety of programs designed to educate residents about the value of trees in our environment and to encourage appreciation and protection of our urban forest resources. For more information about town ordinances, policies, inspections, and plan reviews contact the Atherton Town Arborist, Kevin Kielty (650-515-9783, or link to the Town of Atherton Web Site. For more information about the Tree Committee contact Rachel Croft, President (650 323-4714,