The beauty of the trees throughout Austin, TX, is more than bark deep.
“We recognize trees far beyond just their aesthetic beauty. We recognize all the benefits that they provide us, the services that they provide citizens,” Michael Embesi, manager of the City of Austin’s Community Tree Division, recently told a City Council committee.
A first-of-its-kind report from the U.S. Forest Service — based on a 2014 study of 223 plots of land in the city — provides data underscoring the impact of Austin’s trees. Here are 12 facts about Austin’s urban forest that we plucked from the newly released report.
1. Austin Has an Estimated 33.8 Million Trees
2. Austin’s Tree Canopy Covers 30.8% of the City
3. The Replacement Value of Austin’s Trees Is Estimated at $16 Billion
4. The Density of Trees in Austin Is 173 Per Acre
5. Austin Has More Than 60 Species of Trees
6. Representing 39.3% (13.3 Million) of All Trees, Ashe Juniper — the Infamous Sneeze-Inducing “Cedar Tree” — Is the Most Common Type of Tree in Austin
Photo: Flickr/Andy Heatwole
7. Austin’s Trees Remove About 92,000 Tons of Carbon Per Year
8. Austin’s Trees Suck 1,253 Tons of Pollution From the Air Each Year
Photo: Flickr/John Karwoski
9. Austin’s Urban Forest Reduces Residential Energy Costs by an Estimated $18.9 Million Per Year
10. Taking Into Account Pests and Diseases, the Wood-Boring Asian Longhorned Beetle Poses the Biggest Threat to Austin’s Trees, Endangering 19.1% of the City’s Urban Forest (6,214,000 Trees)
Photo: Total Landscape Care
11. In Austin, 91.7% of the Trees Are Native to Texas
12. 4% of the Trees in Austin Are “Standing Dead,” Meaning They’re Left Upright to Decompose Naturally and Serve as a Wildlife Habitat