According to a report from the Northeast-Midwest State Foresters Alliance last year, urban forests in the state of Connecticut contribute an estimated $1.2 billion per year to the state’s economy in jobs and services. Private landscaping and tree care companies see the biggest impact from urban forestry initiatives, with about 43% of jobs in that sector generated from the efforts. Following behind are nursery and florist wholesalers (28%), nursery and tree production (23%), and landscape architecture services (20%).
The report accounts for data from 2018 and was narrowed to a single year as the Alliance aimed to establish a global estimate of the total economic impact of urban forests. The organization wanted to determine how much money could be directly attributed to jobs created in both public and private industries and economic gains from less tangible sources, like increased air quality and carbon capture.
The survey went out to public and private organizations across 21 states in the Northeast and upper Midwest.
In Connecticut, the Alliance determined that 9,271 jobs were directly attributable to urban forestry and that the efforts generated $55.5 million in direct tax contributions to state and local coffers. They generated an additional $126.6 million in federal tax dollars.
Additionally, the report shows estimates of the financial impact of economic services, including removing pollutants from the air, sequestering carbon to decrease the effects of climate change, and reducing stormwater which can help mitigate flood risk in inland cities and towns.
Sustainability and urban flooding experts, speaking with CII earlier this year, pointed to an increase of urban forests and urban green spaces, like parks, as primary methods by which they hoped to decrease the effects of flooding in the state’s most at-risk inland areas.
According to numbers from the Arbor Day Foundation in 2021, urban forests can have other positive effects on the local economy. In their report, they determined that tree cover on private property adds an estimated $537 million to property values each year.