The Economic Value of Tree Preservation in a Weak Land Development Market Region
Wendy Kellogg, Brian Mikelbank, Robert Laverne, and Kathryn W. Hexter
Abstract: New residential development is most often a death sentence for the trees that stand in its way. This behavior might be altered if developers thought there was an economic value to being more selective. Unfortunately, the relationship between tree preservation and new development is not well studied. The purpose of this study was to characterize the economic value gained from the preservation of mature trees during the land development process. The study focused on six counties constituting the greater Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., real estate and land development market. A mixed quantitative and qualitative approach was used. GIS-based data and a series of hedonic models determined the value of tree canopy associated with new home sale prices from 2009 to 2011. Qualitative interviews of development and real estate professionals revealed a nuanced association of value and challenges to tree preservation during the residential land development process. Previous methods for estimating the economic value of trees were moved forward through aerial location of trees on parcels using Google Earth™ and the National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) data and through the mixed-method approach. The study provided information to a state-level agency managing the state’s incentive-based smart growth program.
Keywords: Cleveland; Economic Value; Ohio; Real Estate; Satellite Imagery; Tree and Canopy Preservation.