USDA Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center


Date of this Version



Environmental Pollution 178 (2013) 229-236;


Carbon storage and sequestration by urban trees in the United States was quantified to assess the magnitude and role of urban forests in relation to climate change. Urban tree field data from 28 cities and 6 states were used to determine the average carbon density per unit of tree cover. These data were applied to statewide urban tree cover measurements to determine total urban forest carbon storage and annual sequestration by state and nationally. Urban whole tree carbon storage densities average 7.69 kg C m‒2 of tree cover and sequestration densities average 0.28 kg C m‒2 of tree cover per year. Total tree carbon storage in U.S. urban areas (c. 2005) is estimated at 643 million tonnes ($50.5 billion value; 95% CI = 597 million and 690 million tonnes) and annual sequestration is estimated at 25.6 million tonnes ($2.0 billion value; 95% CI = 23.7 million to 27.4 million tonnes).