What Really is the “Value” of a Tree?


By Andrew Land

Many of us value trees for the way they give a property, a street, or even a community’s character.  Others might like the way they shade a house when it’s blistering hot outside, or shelter their home from Gorge winds in the winter. Still others might value trees for how they host native and migratory birds or provide them with a source of free, organic, local, and seasonal fruit and nuts.  

So, what about the most majestic trees in our community? We’ve seen rapid development throughout Portland’s inner east side in recent years, and there are signs that it’s heading further east, in years to come.

With that in mind, it’s startling to consider that it may take a year or less to build a house or a new building, but it could take fifty to a hundred years to replace a tree removed for development. And how many 10’ trees would need to be planted to replace a mature tree’s ability to intercept the harmful pollution coming from traffic along I-84, I-205, or even 122nd and 148th Avenues? (I’ll give you a hint:  it’s enough that it’s worth reconsidering that value of a big tree.) How about that tree’s ability to prevent flooding in the streets or even in basements nearby? Trees mean very different things to different people, but it’s so important to consider what is lost by removing a big tree before it’s too late. After all, once you take down a 100 year-old tree, you can’t put it back up.  

Friends of Trees is working hard to offer trees to all who are interested and can see the value of trees.

If you want to be a friend of trees in your community, you should consider becoming a Neighborhood Coordinator to help organize your neighborhood’s tree planting event. If you would like to become the Lorax of Lents, the Ambassador of Argay, or if you want to put the “park” in Parkrose, Parkrose Heights, or Mill Park, please contact Andrew Land at AndrewL@friendsoftrees.org.

www.eastportland.org /node/6399