Tree-mendous: Survey unveils hidden eco benefits of Prospect Park plants

Employ-tree of the year: This American elm outperformes all other trees in Prospect Park when it comes to the environmental benefits it produces.
Brooklyn Paper
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Meet the hardest working tree in Prospect Park!

An American elm located in the Long Meadow of Brooklyn’s Backyard is out-performing thousands of its leafy colleagues by removing more pollutants from the air, sucking up more storm water from the ground, and keeping the area cooler in the summer than any other in the park.

The workhorse elm was cited in a study by arboreal experts contracted by the Prospect Park Alliance to put a dollar value on the impact the park’s biggest flora has on the surrounding area.

Tree-huggers at Davey Resource Group took a tape measure to 12,268 of the park’s roughly 30,000 trees, determining the diameter of their trunks, the breadth of their foliage, and the expanse of their root systems to assess each plant’s value based on how they affected the cost of producing energy in the area, according to the Prospect Park Alliance’s John Jordan, who coordinated the survey. All told, park staff says the trees produced a whopping $1.5 million in annual eco benefits.

Prospect Park’s No. 1 employ-tree sits in the Long Meadow near the Picnic House and rakes in $466 a year in health benefits.

The surveyors also created an online map that locals can use to search out other high-performing trees, which include another American elm near the bandshell earning $454, a white oak located near the Prospect Park Boathouse earning $413, and a willow oak on the Prospect Park Lake peninsula producing $361 worth of eco benefits.

The $1.5 million in annual ecological benefits they uncovered includes scrubbing $125,000 worth of pollutants from the air, $17,000 worth of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and diverting $172,000 worth of storm water from the sewage system, in addition to producing $700,000 worth of energy savings by helping regulate the temperatures of nearby homes.

The Alliance’s plant count will also help park stewards preform necessary tree maintenance, and plan for future blights by noting the population and locations of various tree species in the park, each of which are subject to various parasites that could take root in Brooklyn’s Backyard.

For instance, the invasive emerald ash borer beetles were found living in 10 ash trees in Prospect Park last year, and, while that species of plant only represents an estimated three percent of all park trees, other potential threats loom on the horizon, including the hardwood tree infesting Asian longhorn beetle, oak wilt disease, and even the spotted lanternfly, which lays its eggs within Ailanthus alitissima, the plant starring in Betty Smith’s classic “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.”

“The survey lets us know where each species of tree is, so we can look for trees in lower health and get a clue of where we might look for diseases,” said Jordan.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 6:49 am, September 26, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Henru Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I'm moving out of mom's basement and into that tree!
Sept. 25, 2018, 7:39 pm
HenrU Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Who needs to live in my moms basement when I have free rent in either bing from bong’s head or vision zeros? So many free places to rest.
Sept. 25, 2018, 8:04 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Who needs to live in a tree when I reside in my moms basement rent free! Her lap, the bathroom floor, so many free places to rest my fat weary head.
Sept. 25, 2018, 8:19 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Clearly I don't see the irony in constantly posting about other commentators and claiming they are obsessed with me. I'm having a dim banter here with myself. I guess this is where I should make a weak comment about the mental health facility not doing a good job?
Sept. 25, 2018, 8:27 pm
The Real Henry Ford from The heads of the mentally ill says:
And this thread here is another example of haters and losers that have been triggered by patriotism babbling to their pathetic boot licking selves.
Sept. 25, 2018, 10:09 pm
Scott says:
^^^get help loser^^^
Sept. 25, 2018, 10:28 pm
CP from South Bk says:
This is interesting, but it woefully undervalues the contribution of the trees! The trees do so much more for us. They stand there quietly and calmly, looking pretty, year round. Their calming influence is a boon to mental health of city dwellers. How many hours of mental health services are provided or rendered unnecessary by the trees! Let's have another study setting the record straight.
Sept. 26, 2018, 11:20 am
Beverly says:
So The only thing these people value is money? Unless these trees can be turned into dollars, then they’re worthless?! Life isn’t just money!
Sept. 26, 2018, 12:55 pm

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