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Austin urban forest report is “first of its kind”

Friday, March 11, 2016 by Nora Ankrum

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a report on Austin’s trees that “is the first of its kind in the nation,” according to an announcement from the city. Called “Austin’s Urban Forest,” the report provides analysis of extensive data collected by Texas A&M’s Forest Service. Among its findings, the report concludes that Austin’s tree canopy reduces residential energy costs each year by about $18.9 million, reduces stormwater runoff each year by an estimated 65 million cubic feet and stores about 1.9 million tons of carbon. The project is expected to continue on an annual basis with further data collection by Texas A&M’s Forest Service, and the city will use the information for planning and management in alignment with the city’s urban forest master plan. According to the announcement, the USDA selected Austin as the subject of the new report because of the city’s “strong leadership and advocacy of tree preservation.”

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