What is the value of trees? Do trees have an economic value to the city of Saskatoon?
“A large, healthy tree can be valued as high as $16,000, a city report says. The same report estimates Saskatoon’s elm trees, on both private and public property, are worth at least $500 million. “(Tank, 2017)
In 1972, Saskatoon’s park and recreation board has “ventured into a massive project of planting 200,000 trees for local parks on 600 acres of land south of Diefenbaker Park and south of the CNR station.”(Cronkite, 1972)
What would 200,000 trees x $16,000 calculate to? Three billion two hundred million dollars ($3,200,000,000) is the net worth of the mature trees on the afforestation areas. This figure does not include the new tree growth or native growth such as Trembling Aspen and shrubbery which are also coming along in the afforestation areas.
James Wood, president of the SOS (Save our Saskatchewan) Elms Coalition Inc. says that, “Trees are very important to Saskatoon people historically.” (Tank, 2018)
If the value of a mature tree 50 years old is taken at $193,250, then what are the afforestation areas consisting of 200,000 mature trees planted in 1972 worth to the City of Saskatoon? The trees in the afforestation area are 44 years old, so in the year 2022, 200,000 * $193,250 works out to a figure of thirty eight billion six hundred fifty three million ($38,653,000,000) or roughly thirty nine billion dollars. The value is actually much, much more than this if the entirety of the afforestation area of 2018 is factored in including trees not afforested in 1972 such as the trees already existing on the property, new sapling growth, the mature Trembling Aspen groves, buffaloberry and snowberry bushes which have accumulated in the afforestation area.
Of concern to all! A tree is worth $193,250
According to Professor T.M.Das of the University of Calcutta. A tree living for 50 years will generate $31,250 worth of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, control soil erosion and increase soil fertility to the tune of $31,250, recycle $37,500 worth of water and provide a home for animals worth $31,250. This figure does not include the value of fruits, lumber or beauty derived from trees. Just another sensible reason to take care of our forests. (Update forestry)
On average, each Elm Tree provides the City of Saskatoon, overall benefits of: $257 every year.
One Elm tree will reduce atmospheric carbon by 1,506 pounds (0.753 tons) at a “carbon price of $50/ton” How many mature trees are in the afforestation areas? Over 200,000. Perhaps each various species will remove about this many tons of carbon, the savings to the City of Saskatoon every year in carbon sequestration is seven million five hundred thirty thousand dollars $7,530,000.
The National Tree Calculator states that ” Most car owners of an “average” car (mid-sized sedan) drive 12,000 miles generating about 11,000 pounds of CO2 every year.” Saskatoon’s census metropolitan area population on the 2016 census was 295,095.
Fines are imposed in Saskatoon for” unauthorized excavations, removal, relocation, pruning or damage in part of whole of existing trees”, and this is covered under City Council Policy, #C09-011 entitled “Trees on Public Property” (1989) or the Parks Bylaw #7667. These bylaws have a formula for a city appraiser to calculate the value of trees as it is recognized that “trees on City property are “living” assets owned by the City of Saskatoon and maintained as a legacy for the citizens of Saskatoon. ”
The afforestation areas are not in municipal reserve placed before the city by former city councillor Pat Lorje April 25, 2016, and reviewed May 39, 2017. As the afforestation areas are not a part of the city’s urban reserves, nor do the afforestation areas belong to city’s park space inventory there is no funding available by any city department.
That although there is some monetary value to the afforestation areas, these facts remain;
- Nothing is financed, nor planned for the general public in regards to an urban regional park as the afforestation areas are NOT in municipal reserve, and not in city park space.
- Nothing is similarly in the long range planning in terms of curbing the illegal activity, and illegal trespass which have gone on for years, in the forms of fencing or gates to prevent access by motorized vehicle. The afforestation areas belong to land bank, and as such there is NO money that the city can allocate to the afforestation areas for any purpose whatsoever.
- Nothing is in the planning stages for erecting signs so that the vacant looking lands are defined as city owned lands, as there is no money allocated for the afforestation areas.
- The afforestation areas named as urban regional parks in 1979 by city council only and not by the parks department. The afforestation areas belong to land bank, they are NOT in municipal reserve, and not in city park space.
- The afforestation areas were ‘preserved in perpetuity’ on paper by city council in 1972 and not in real life as has been evident by the several community volunteer clean ups removing huge amounts of trash and the ‘George Genereux” afforestation area which has received no clean up at all.
- There have been grass fires in the afforestation areas over the years, and two massive grass fires at the nearby “Buck’s auto parts” requring fire protective services from both the City of Saskatoon and the RM of Corman Park 344. If a grass fire gets away and becomes a forest fire in the afforestation area, it would have devastating consquences for the neighbouring residents of Cedar Villa Estates, and for those train cars carrying flammable goods in the adjacent CN Chappell Yards Train station. There is NO funding to fill in the existing large fire hole built to burn wood pallets for campfire parties, or convert it to a fire pit of city or provincial standards. As you will see on reading this article, there is no funding for signs in regards to any fires in the afforestation areas.
- The city and the MVA have the opportunity to follow up on Truth and Reconciliation for our first nations peoples of Saskatoon. “We respectfully acknowledge that the afforestation areas exist upon Treaty 6 territory and the traditional lands of First Nations and Métis people”. However, as the afforestation areas are not part of a municipal reserve, there is NO carry through to protect, conserve, or take care of take care of the riparian woodlands, wetlands, or grasslands of the afforestation areas in any planning at all.
Is it really true that nothing can be done?
Barrett, Brett. City investigating unauthorized tree removal near River Valley. Global News. May 5, 2014
Census 2016: Saskatoon third-fastest growing city in Canada. The Canadian Press. February 8, 2017
City of Saskatoon. Trees. Protect Saskatoon Trees
City of Saskatoon. Tree Protection Policy.
Cronkite, Kathy. Green Survival War against ecology abuse. 1972
Emad, Eric. Determine the value of a tree. 2018 Penton Media Inc
Illegal Tree Removal could Mean Stiffer Fines. Turf and Rec. June 14, 2017
Update What is the value of a tree? Update Forestry Michigan State University. republished 2018 Stack Exchange Inc;
Levy, Bryn. Neighbours angry after city trees cut down. 650 CKOM.April 24, 2017.
Neilson, Anne Sofie Elberg, Andrew J. Plantinga, and Ralph J. Alig. New Cost Estimates for Carbon Sequestration Through Afforestation in the United States. United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service NW-GTR-888 March 2014 ” carbon price of $50/ton”
The National Tree Benefit Calculator Casey Trees and Davey Tree Expert Co.
New Trees planted in Regina’s Victoria Park. CBC News. April 23, 2017
April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017 report. Society to prevent Dutch Elm Disease. “According 1999 tree inventory and value calculation at that time, AB has an estimated 750,000 mature elm trees. A total of 250,000 elms, valued at $700 million dollars”
Tank, Phil. City considers restricting private tree removal in Saskatoon Saskatoon Star Phoenix. January 15, 2018
Tank, Phil. Higher fines, business ban considered for illegal tree removal Saskatoon StarPhoenix. June 14, 2017
Saskatchewan Judge uses fines to chop illegal tree harvesters down to size. CTV News. November 12, 2014
Tree Protection Fact Sheet. City of Saskatoon
For more information:
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Contact the Meewasin Valley Authority in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The MVA has begun a Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund. If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund (MVA RSBBAA trust fund)”. Post to MVA 402 Third Avenue South Saskatoon, SK S7K 3G5 Please and thank you!
Please contemplate joining the SOS Elms coalition ~ an active group interested in forest management~ or make a donation to “Save our Saskatchewan” [SOS] Elms ~ leave a message to support the afforestation area 😉