Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Micro-level valuation - What is that tree worth?

Ohio State University has a unique application of valuation. It's common for universities to label various plants and trees to facilitate identification and knowledge.  For example, UNCW has small placards at the base of many trees on campus with the common name and scientific name of the species. Ohio State takes it up a notch and adds a conservation message.  I'll let these pictures do the talking:

Eastern White Pine
English Oak
European Ash

How do they do the valuation?

Can anyone think of other applications where this type of valuation might be useful?

10 comments:

Shayvonne Moxey-Bonamy said...

I really enjoyed this article from OSU and it truly left me wondering about micro-level valuation. Perhaps in an Island context pertaining to the Caribbean, we can value mangrove forest that way. There are about 4 species left and I believe we take for granted the ecological service they provide.

Robb C said...

I also enjoyed this article, for I appreciate and love all treas. I couldn't help but think after reading this about our community of Wilmington and the massive development that has happened here over the past 20 years since Rt 40 was extended from Raleigh to here and all the trees that have been clear cut to build plazas and housing communities. The most recent is Autumn Hall on Eastwood that I have experienced. What micro-level valuation was placed on those trees before chopping them down? What effects have and will happen in the negative like storm water mitigation, reducing atmospheric carbon, and air quality right here in Wilmington especially with more people moving here which mean more people, more cars and businesses means more pollution.

Nick McLoota said...

Cool article; I would think they use the hedonic pricing method. And if we had the technology, we could do micro-level valuation on just about anything from how important one small spider is to our ecosystem, thus effecting our economy in some way; to the value we put on a tree.

Chris Ajizian said...

I thought this concept was very interesting in that economic value was being projected to the public over something as common as a tree. While it is true that some people may not be able to differentiate between tree species (I am one of those people), the value of a dollar is universal among Americans and this project goes a long way to convey a message about value of even the most common environmental resources. By touching on points of popular environmental discussion (atmospheric carbon value, energy value, air quality value) in society, the placards do a good job of conveying the economic value trees have toward modern environmental issues. I thought this was really cool, and is a great way to educate people on the value of something that is often overlooked in day to day life.

Zoƫ VanDerPloeg said...

This is awesome! Plus this notion of standardized valuation - everyone uses the same software with the same method to collect tree data - is very cool. I wonder if this kind of technique could be used to do micro-level analysis on the value of NOT doing things that harm the environment. For example, environmental organizations could use this to say, "Hey, here's the worth in dollars to the environment if you drive 20 miles less per week" or "Here's the worth in dollars if you throw away your cigarette butts instead of littering" or whatever.

Celina Roach said...

I am not sure if this could be incorporated but I was thinking especially with all of the forest fires that occur annually in California this technology could be incorporated to help reduce it somehow. That is incorporate this technology in the fire and police department where frequent satellite aerial views can be conducted which could detect or show any potential fire hazard. Say for example areas that have the highest temperatures in the forests then keep these areas cooler before a disaster. Prevention is better than cure.Of course the top down approach would need to be even further upgraded if this was to be done.

Just an idea....

Kerriann Jessamy said...

I must say reading this article was interesting. I've never really put a monetary value to a tree unless I was purchasing one to plant and to be honest, I don't pay that much but it has left me wondering really what a tree is worth. They probably used hedonic pricing method. We've had a situation in Barbados where a tree was the center of controversy due to development.How much was that tree worth? The tree still stands today amidst all the development, so the value had to be high.

Charlette Alleyne-Greene said...

This is an interesting article.I think that hedonic pricing method was used.Similar to the two Boabab trees in Barbados. These trees are hundreds of years old.They too have non market value, bequest value really. Since many developmental projects took placed around the one in Warrens and it was made clear that no harm was to be done to the tree.

Cashmi Groome said...

Peter, I have to agree with Shayvonne on this. There are 4 main types of mangroves in the Caribbean and applying the valuation system currently used by the Ohio State University can add to bequest and existing values.
The poui, silk cotton and the pride of Barbados along with many others can be included. However, I believe that this type of valuation system can be applied to several other natural resources that provide ecological services. Marine Protected Areas (Jamiaca), Pitons Management Area (St. Lucia)and other parks or savannahs are a few ecological systems that can be considered. Although these options may be a bit broad, an overall assessment of ecological services may prove useful in the execution of conservation efforts.

Douglas Brown said...

The i-Tree app is very innovative and cool I must say. I like it, it makes environmental matters, tree valuation in this case fun which is not always the case.

On the the matter of more innovative ideas, I think we can build on this one by probably implementing a community beautification program where communities get some sort of incentive for planting the most valuable trees within a certain period. Different criteria can be used to tailor the program and of course the communities have the opportunity to use the i-Tree app.