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Plant a Tree, Boost Your Property Value

A "shady" scheme to make some money: Get your neighbor to plant some trees.

Living on a street lined with tall, leafy trees is as much a part of the American dream as a green front lawn and a brand-new car in the driveway. While the latter two are fairly expensive and unsustainable (think pesticides and carbon emissions), it turns out that trees reward property owners with more than just shade.


A study [PDF] by the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station published last month in Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, combined rent data from Craigslist apartment listings in Portland, Oregon with tree data from Google Earth to figure out the effect of trees on rent. The researchers, Geoffrey Donovan of the Forest Service and David Butry of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, found that trees planted directly on a property increase a rental unit's value by more than five dollars per month. Rental units with trees abutting the property lines feel a 21-dollar bump. The trend holds true even when researchers control for other factors that determine a neighborhood's desirability.

The findings dovetail nicely with the Donovan's earlier work, which showed that a property's sale price grows by as much $13,000, if there are trees on the property next door—apparently people like the shade trees provide but are less keen on the yard work. So the surest way to benefit from trees added value is to ask your neighbor to plant some trees (nicely, of course). In the past, Donovan has also linked the presence of trees to lower crime and healthier newborns.

Image via (cc) Flickr user brx0

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Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

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