A new study authored by David Nowak Eric Greenfield of the U.S. Forest Service concludes that the U.S. is losing some 36 million trees each year in U.S. metropolitan areas. That equates to about 175,000 acres of mostly urban forest.
The study, published in Urban Forestry & Urban Greenery, has been cited by numerous media and websites including Science Alert. The Science Alert article notes that the tree loss totals about $96 million a year in benefits such as removal of air pollution, sequestering carbon and conserving energy by providing shade to buildings.
Urban development, catastrophic storms like Hurricane Katrina and insect infestation are among the culprits to the nation’s shrinking urban tree canopy.
The researchers used paired aerial photographs from Google Earth to monitor forest coverage in 1,000 locations for each of the 50 states across the United States from 2009 to 2014, according to Science Alert.