Urban forestry experts have long suggested that tree canopy cover in residential and urban areas is essential to maintaining a healthy ecosystem in those communities, but an interdisciplinary study published in Ecological Economics suggests that tree cover may also contribute to increased property values. The researchers performed a meta-analysis of 15 existing studies from across the country focusing on the relationship between tree cover and property values to discern what the results collectively imply.

The researchers found that the contribution of tree cover to real estate value maximizes at about 30 percent cover at the property level and about 38 percent at the county level. Perceived benefits such as scenery, privacy, shade, and recreation all contribute to this rise in property value. Despite the contributions that trees could make to property value, the study showed that private properties and communities were about 24 percent under-invested in tree cover. “This estimate is consistent with the ecological goal (40 percent) set by the organization American Forests for communities on the East Coast and in the Pacific Northwest,” said Shyamani Siriwardena, a doctoral student in forestry and the study’s primary author.

“When people think about the value of their homes, they tend to focus on the manmade amenities: bedrooms, patios, hot tubs, and so forth,” added Associate Professor Eric Wiseman, a co-author. “While these amenities will always be primary considerations when buying a home, it is important for people to consider the significant financial contribution that trees can make to the largest asset they own. And there are so many other benefits that come with those trees, such as clean air, cool surroundings, and watchable wildlife.”

Read the full press release.