In a quick scan of a NY Times story about urban forests
, two things jumped out. One:
San Francisco's tree canopy hovers at a slim 11.9 percent of the city's surface area, compared with New York's 21 percent and Washington's 28.6. So much for Ecotopia
. And two:
Over the last decade, a host of studies have underscored the role of trees — especially mature ones — as "green infrastructure" that help reduce air-conditioning and energy costs, intercept storm water runoff, capture dust and other pollutants, curb the effect of greenhouse gases and increase property values. A study by the University of Washington even found that people shopped longer and more often in tree-lined retail areas and spent about 12 percent more money.
The moral of the story: Keep a close eye on those credit cards when there are trees around.