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What Trees and Taxes Have in Common: AAEA Member Research

New study shows people are willing to pay for the benefit of good greenery

Trees are a vital part of life. They produce oxygen, clean the air, provide shade in the summer, and can help prevent soil erosion and water pollution.

And while money doesn’t grow on trees, it appears they can provide a boost to the economy and your bottom line.

The connection between ecosystems and the economy is the focus of the paper “Public and Private Preferences for Urban Forest Ecosystem Services,” by AAEA member José Soto of the University of Florida.

In the paper Soto and his co-authors surveyed more than a thousand homeowners in Florida about trees on their property and the potential for increased property values. The study not only found values on the rise, but a willingness to pay more for well-conditioned trees. But they don’t have to.

“There was a program in one county where they gave away trees but were having problems with people taking them,” Soto said. “Orlando will mail you a tree if you request it and Tampa has a program called ‘Tree-mendous Tampa’ where trees are planted. Urban forests provide tremendous value.”

How much economic value could trees provide? Soto says the results not only show individual benefit, but thinks policy makers should look at the numbers. To set up an interview with the author, please contact Jay Saunders in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association of agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 20 countries. Members of AAEA are employed by academic or government institutions, as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of teaching, research, and extension/outreach activities. AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy. To learn more please visit

Contact: Allison Scheetz
Senior Communications Manager
(414) 918-3190