Monday, June 13, 2016

The implicit value of tree cover in the U.S.: A meta-analysis of hedonic property value studies

Trees in residential neighborhoods and communities provide benefits for homeowners that are capitalized into residential property values. In this paper, we collected data from hedonic property value studies and merged these data with ancillary spatial data describing forest and socio-economic characteristics surrounding each study area to conduct a meta-analysis of the impact of tree canopy cover on the value of residential properties. The meta-analysis suggests that property-level tree cover of about 30% and county-level tree cover of about 38% maximize the implicit price of tree cover in property values. Currently, tree cover in the original study areas was about 14%, on average, around or near study properties. The empirical results, therefore suggest under investment of tree cover on private property from the perspective of individual property owners and from a societal perspective. The findings also have implications for community forest programs regarding planting trees and protection of mature trees to address potential changes in tree abundance, species diversity and stand age due to development and climate change.
Summary statistics for the variables used in the estimation are reported in Table 2. These data indicate that 64% of the observations have positive implicit prices. Of the studies with positive implicit prices, the average implicit price for a 1% change in tree cover is $239, and the comparable figure for negative implicit prices is −$156. Values of the variable treecover for the positive implicit prices range from 0.1% to 61% and the comparable range for negative implicit prices is 0% to 40%.
Redwoods National Park, California. (Photo: Holly Hayes, ©Creative Commons)
Redwood National Park (Photo: Holly Hayes, ©Creative Commons)
by Shyamani D. Siriwardena 1, , Kevin J. Boyle 2, Thomas P. Holmes 3 and P. Eric Wiseman 41. Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, 313 Cheatham Hall (0324), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
2. Virginia Tech Program in Real Estate, 420 Bishop-Favrao Hall (0715), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, USA
3. USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA
4. Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, USA
Ecological Economics via Elsevier Science Direct
Volume 128, August 2016, Pages 68–76

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