Hyde Park tree benefits

During the summers of 2013, 2014 and 2015 a trained field crew of Royal Parks staff and volunteers recorded details on all of the trees in the Hyde Park. Hyde Park is an important green space in central London, covering an area of over 344 acres within the City of Westminster.

3,174 trees were assessed as part of this study. Information on tree species and location was recorded, as well as detailed field measurements to assess the size and condition of the trees. The collected field measurements were processed along with local pollution and climate data, using the i-Tree Eco software, to calculate tree functions and to value the services provided by those functions.

The study determined that the trees in Hyde Park remove a total of 2.7 tonnes of pollutants each year, a service valued at £183,454. Sulphur dioxide removal was equivalent to the annual sulphur dioxide emissions from 2,240 automobiles.

Hyde Park trees were also estimated to store 3,900 tonnes of CO2, valued at an estimate of a remarkable £800,123. This is equivalent to the annual carbon emissions from 1,240 single family houses, or 3,020 family cars. Their amenity asset value was determined at a staggering £173 million.

The London plane currently dominates the tree-scape within Hyde Park, making up 37.4% of the tree population, storing 75.9% of all carbon and filtering a similar proportion of all air pollutants. However, the London plane represent an ageing population and in order to maintain the current level of tree benefits to the Hyde Park, more trees capable of attaining a larger stature will need to be planted in future years.

Royal Parks Tree Manager, Ian Rodger, commented “This report places an amenity value of £52,378 each on some of our Plane Trees. I have come to believe in the practice of putting a monetary value on trees and this proves they are worth every penny!”.

The tree population of Hyde Park is generally healthy and has a good structural, species and age diversity. This will provide some resilience from possible future influences such as climate change and pest and disease outbreaks. However, the large proportion of plane trees is a future risk to the delivery of benefits (for example, if Plane wilt becomes prevalent in the UK).

The concept of trees as part of our public health infrastructure is a reality. Hyde Parks trees provide a valuable public benefit – at least £209,000 in environmental services alone each year.