Indianapolis’ urban forests worth $258 million. But they are disappearing to development.

Read the full story in the Indianapolis Star.

Indianapolis’ trees are worth a lot of money — nearly $258 million a year, according to a recent report. That’s not the price they would fetch for lumber if they were cut down, however. 

Quite the opposite, in fact: That’s the value of leaving the trees standing. 

The report identified more than 4,300 forested areas, defined as one acre or more of trees, across Marion County. Those pockets of green provide tremendous, yet often overlooked, benefits to residents. They help control flooding, improve air and water quality, increase property values and enhance quality of life. 

But the city’s urban forests are dwindling rapidly — being erased from the map and neighborhoods by encroaching development. And every tree cut down or pushed over by a bulldozer chips away at those important benefits.

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