The National Academy of Sciences / National Research Council will organize a workshop to examine the following:
- current capabilities to characterize and quantify the benefits (“ecosystem services”) provided by trees and forest canopy cover within a metropolitan area - including air pollution mitigation; water pollution mitigation; carbon sequestration; UHI mitigation; reduced energy demand from shading of buildings. The discussions may also consider benefits to public health and well-being.
- key gaps in our understanding, and our ability to model, measure, and monitor such services; and improvements that may be needed to allow tree planting to be sanctioned as a “creditable” strategy in official regulatory control programs (i.e. for air quality, water quality, climate change response).
- current capabilities for assigning quantitative economic value to these services, and strategies for improving these capabilities (in order, for instance, to allow for rigorous cost/benefit analyses, and for policies that compensate land owners for good forestry conservation and planting practices).
- the challenges of planning/managing urban forests in a manner that optimizes multiple ecosystem services simultaneously (e.g. synergies, tradeoffs in selecting tree species, determining planting locations)
- opportunities for enhancing collaboration and coordination among federal agencies, academic researchers, and other stakeholders.