Today being Arbor Day, we thought we would look into the economic value of trees. There are, of course, lots of things you can do with lumber, but what is the value of a living tree? It turns out to be surprisingly high.
Take the Ficus tree outside our office window. It’s about two stories tall, and it’s worth $152 a year, according to a calculation made by software called i-Tree.
“There are three main parts to the calculation,” says Dave Nowak with the U.S. Forest Service. He is one of the creators of i-Tree, which arrived at that $152 value by accounting for the Ficus tree's carbon absorption, how it shades our building, lowering energy costs, and how it affects the water table by reducing stream flows and improving water quality.
John McNeil is the manager of forestry for the town of Oakville in Ontario, Canada, one of many local governments that use i-Tree.
“We used it to quantify the form function and value of Oakville’s urban forest,” McNeil says.
The value of Oakville’s trees is $2.5 million each year. The city of Pittsburgh recently used i-Tree and determined that every dollar the city invests in tree planting generates $3 in economic benefits.
The mayor of Newark New Jersey, Cory Booker, believes social media is a powerful way to solve the problems of a city like his. If a resident has a problem, Booker says tweet it, and he'll read it.
But a new study by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project shows that social media and the Internet are not helping much to get poorer people engaged in civic life.
"The wealthy, the well-educated are more likely to be proactive than people at the lower end of the socio-economic scale," says Pew's Aaron Smith. "One hope for the Internet and specifically for social networking spaces, is that the openness and low barriers to entry might help change that trend."
The study was conducted during the presidential campaign last summer. The survey also shows that civic engagement online can lead to civic engagement in the real world.
To see the full results from Pew, click here.
When you think of stress centers around the country, New York City or Washington D.C. may come to mind. But according to a new poll from Gallup, the people of West Virginia, Rhode Island and Kentucky are the most stressed.
Over the course of 2012, Gallup asked over 350,000 people across the country to answer the question, "Did you feel stressed during a lot of the day yesterday?" 47 percent of West Virgina residents said yes. That's compared to Hawaii -- the least stressed state in the survey -- where only 32 percent reported feeling stressed.
The top 10 most stressed states:
1. West Virginia, 47.1%
2. Rhode Island, 46.3%
3. Kentucky, 44.8%
4. Utah, 44.6%
5. Massachusetts, 43.4%
6. New Hampshire, Connecticut 43.0%
8. Ohio, 42.8%
9. Oregon, 42.6%
10. Indiana, 42.5%
The top 10 least stressed states:
1. Hawaii, 32.1%
2. Louisiana, 37.6%
3. Mississippi, 37.9%
4. Iowa, 38.1%
5. Wyoming, Texas, 38.6%
7. South Carolina, Nebraska, 38.7%
9. Maryland 38.8%
10. Florida, Delware, North Carolina 38.8%
To see the full results, click here.