Mesquite Urban Forest

Understanding an urban forest’s structure, function and value can promote management decisions that will improve human health and environmental quality. An assessment of the vegetative structure, function, and value of the City of Mesquite urban forest was conducted between February and August 2012. Data from 225 field plots located throughout the City of Mesquite were analyzed using the i-Tree Eco model developed by the U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station.

The Mesquite urban forest provides multiple benefits to the residents of the city and creates a sense of community. An increase in the understanding of these benefits and their associated economic values can improve both local planning and management and ultimately improve the overall condition or quality of the forest leading to increased benefits. With 24% canopy cover across the city, there is a clear opportunity for continued growth. In fact, since a majority of the city’s trees are 6” or less in diameter most trees are relatively young and with proactive care should grow, expanding the coverage of canopy over the community and providing heightened benefits over time. However, the city should be conscious of which trees make up their canopy since some trees are less desirable either due to higher susceptibility to pest and disease or because they are relatively short-lived. Furthermore, nearly 58% of all trees were represented by only three species. Thus, diversifying species selection in future planting initiatives is recommended in order to enhance the forest’s quality and resilience.

Key findings
  • Number of trees: 2,091,000
  • Tree cover: 24.4%
  • Most common species: Sugarberry, Green ash, Cedar elm
  • Percentage of trees less than 6″ (15.2 cm) diameter: 75.8%
  • Pollution removal: 288 tons/year ($1.54 million/year)
  • Carbon storage: 145,000 tons ($10.3 million)
  • Carbon sequestration: 13,000 tons/year ($927 thousand/year)
  • Oxygen production: 31,900 tons/year ($0 /year)
  • Building energy savings: $773 thousand/year
  • Avoided carbon emissions: $108 thousand/year
  • Annual Rainfall Interception: 30.2 million ft3/year ($2.01 million/year)
  • Structural values: $996 million
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