– The bigger the tree, the more it “earns”. We need large trees, and each small one is an investment, because in several dozen years it will be large – explained Marzena Suchocka, an expert of the Warsaw University of Life Sciences research team, who counted the financial benefits of trees on TVN24. Director of sustainable development and greenery in the town hall, Justyna Glusman, pointed out that thanks to the project it was possible to show the residents that trees in the city bring specific benefits.
City officials in cooperation with a team of scientists from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences counted how much money Warsaw trees “earn”. Over 1,300 trees in Wola were examined. Their “work” was valued at at least PLN 170 million per year. This is the first study of this type in Poland. Dr. Justyna Glusman, director-coordinator for sustainable development and greenery, and Dr. Marzena Suchocka, head of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Warsaw University of Life Sciences, talked about the project on Monday.
– We all say that green in the city is a value, while such a value, which is expressed in specific numbers and money, is much more understood and appreciated. This project aims to show how much our trees not only cost, but how much they earn, so that they are not treated only as a cost for the city, but we also derive specific benefits that trees grow in the city. And these benefits are measurable – explained Justyna Glusman.
“The quality of life also depends on greenery”
Justyna Suchocka talked about how the value of a tree’s “work” is valued. – Valuation is a replacement value which is very large and annual ecosystem services. We counted air purification services such as carbon dioxide sequestration and absorption of PM2, which are extremely harmful to us. We can also count on small retention services or improving the temperature in the city. We have a methodology for this. The record holder in our area earns less than PLN 1,200 annually – the expert calculated. She also added that on average one tree in Warsaw “earns” about PLN 50 a year.
She added that the amount depends on the species, but above all the size of the tree. – The bigger the more he earns. We need large trees, each small one is an investment, because in a few dozen, several hundred will be a large tree – she pointed out.
Justyna Glusman also reminded Fr. Tree Crown Map, an earlier city project. – There are about nine million trees in Warsaw, we counted it thanks to the Map of Tree Crowns based on photos from air raids. We’ve been doing it for almost two years and finished it in December. In Warsaw, pine predominates, but on the right bank we also have maples and oaks. The species and numbers of these trees vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, Glusmam said.
– We really want to equalize the number of trees in different districts, because the quality of life also depends on greenery. Trees are a common value. Even those growing on a private plot of land generate benefits, they earn for the residents of not only this plot, but for all residents of the surrounding areas – she summed up.
Trees and physical and mental health
What are the specific benefits of trees? The proximity of trees has a positive effect on our physical and mental health and even protects our lives. World studies show that the increase in tree crown coverage has a direct impact on the health and life of city residents. Therefore, it should be an essential element of spatial planning policy, promoting social health and environmental justice. It is also important that decision-makers and investors take care of local green areas, because their presence directly increases the value of the property. – Suchocka in turn explained.
Main photo source: Warsaw City Hall