In what it claims to be the first study of its kind in the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture last week released a report called "Austin’s Urban Forest," which makes several positive findings about the effects of the city's urban tree canopy.
The report, to which the Austin Monitor's Nora Ankrum pointed us in that publication's "Whispers" column, analyzes data collected by Texas A&M’s Forest Service and concludes that Austin’s tree canopy saves us approximately $18.9 million per year in residential energy costs. It also reduces stormwater runoff an estimated 65 million cubic feet and stores about 1.9 million tons of carbon per year, according to the report.
(Allergy sufferers might not be thrilled to learn that the most common trees in the area are Ashe juniper, cedar elm, and live oak, but we'll take one for the cause.)
According to the Monitor, the service will continue its data collection, and the city will use the annual reports and information in working with its urban forest master plan. The website also noted that Austin was chosen for the study due to its "strong leadership and advocacy of tree preservation."