Torbay’s urban forest

The full report of the findings by Treeconomics from the first i-Tree Eco project to be undertaken in the UK, in the borough of Torbay can be viewed here.

The results demonstrate that the tree stocks of even a medium-sized local authority can represent a significant structural and environmental asset.

We were the first in the UK to use the i-Tree Eco software, which calculates the economic worth of trees based on the ecosystem services they provide.

The findings of the pilot project indicate that Torbay contains approximately 818,000 trees, 28.9% of which are under public ownership.

The trees store 98,100 tons of carbon and sequester a further 4,279 tons each year.  They also remove 50 tons of pollutants from the atmosphere each year, a service with an estimated value of £281,000. Probably the most interesting figure to come out of the study is that for the structural value of the Torbay tree stocks, which has been calculated at a remarkable £280 million.

This study represents a new way to analyse the Urban Forest and respond to the increased regulatory focus on the value of ecosystem services. By placing a value on the benefits to society of the urban forest, the importance of this resource can be made tangible to policy makers, communities and businesses.

“With better information (including economic understanding) we can make better long term decisions to maintain and improve the urban environment for the benefit of current and future populations of Torbay. Leading by example Torbay’s experience shows a way forward for other towns and cities in this country.”
GB Forestry Commissioner, Sir Harry Studholme