Measuring a tree in River Rouge Park, Detroit, Mich., July 2013

Measuring a tree in River Rouge Park, Detroit, Mich., July 2013. Credit: American Forests

Project Year:
2013

Focus:
Calculating the ecosystem benefits of the largest community park and the last sustainable riparian forest in the city

Scope/Size:
Trees and vegetation in River Rouge Park (approximately 650 acres)

Project Description:
This project is evaluating the ecosystem services provided by the urban forest in River Rouge Park, the largest community park and the last sustainable riparian forest in Detroit. In a city that is currently facing many park closures and budget cuts, this park is one of the key remaining areas for environmental education for the surrounding communities. This project is helping quantify human health benefits such as air quality, carbon storage and sequestration, water quality improvements and the structural value of the urban forest. The resulting information is being used to help ensure the protection of this important urban forest into the future for the benefit all of Detroit’s residents.

Key Findings:

  • River Rouge Park’s trees provide an equivalent of $2.48 million in public benefits each year, including filtering air pollution, sequestering carbon and controlling rainwater.
  • American Forests and The Greening of Detroit staff with Bank of America volunteers at Rouge River Park in Detroit.

    American Forests and The Greening of Detroit staff with Bank of America volunteers at Rouge River Park in Detroit. Credit: American Forests

  • Rouge Park’s trees store 19,600 tons of carbon — a $1.40 million value.
  • Trees in Rouge Park provide an essential stormwater benefit to Detroit reducing surface runoff by an estimated 2.74 million cubic feet valued at $185,000 annually.
  • The replacement cost for the park’s trees, if lost, would be $84 million.

Tree Planting Event:
On October 17, American Forests and local partner The Greening of Detroit were joined by volunteers from Bank of America to plant trees in River Rouge Park.

Trees planted in Rouge River Park in Detroit as part of an October 17 Community ReLeaf event.

Trees planted in Rouge River Park in Detroit as part of an October 17 Community ReLeaf event. Credit: American Forests

Learn more in our October 17 press release.

How to Support the Urban Forest:
In 2014, we will be adding advocacy tools and other ways that you can encourage the care and maintenance of Detroit’s urban forest. In the meantime, connect with our local partner or read our case study of Detroit for more information on the city’s urban forest: