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    Food and Resource Economics Department

    Food and Resource Economics Department

Economic Contributions of Urban Forestry in Florida in 2017


Urban and community forestry is an important commercial activity in Florida and the United States, including nursery production of trees, landscape services for tree planting and maintenance in private and public spaces, parks and highway rights-of-way, utility line vegetation management, landscape architecture, manufacturing of tree equipment and products, and wholesale and retail distribution of trees and tree care products. This study was commissioned by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services-Florida Forest Service, to estimate the economic contributions of urban forestry activities in the State of Florida.

Secondary data on industry sectors with urban forestry activity suggest there were 13,933 establishments in Florida with average annual employment of 114,590 jobs, and $3.79 billion (B) in wages paid in 2017. The largest sector was landscaping services, with nearly 10,000 establishments, 73,382 employees, and $2.30 billion in wages, followed by nursery and floriculture production (19,144 jobs), lawn and garden stores (6,383 jobs), and nursery/florist wholesalers (6,226 jobs). Costs of utility line vegetation management for the five largest investor-owned utilities in Florida in 2017 amounted to $111 M, representing an average cost per mile of $5,230. Municipal tree management employment and budgeted expenses from a survey conducted in 2014 by Hauer and Peterson (2016) was used to estimate total municipal tree activity employment at 5,986 and total budgeted costs of $150 M. Employment data were adjusted to account for the share of products and services that were tree-related.

Total economic contributions of urban forestry in Florida were estimated using a regional economic input-output model (IMPLAN©) that enabled calculation of multiplier effects that capture direct employment, spending or revenues, supply chain purchases (indirect effects) and employee household consumption spending (induced effects). For all activities, the estimated total economic contributions were 80,808 fulltime and part-time jobs, $3.46 B in labor income, $5.15 B value added or GDP, and $8.40 B in industry output, including multiplier effects. The largest urban forestry industry groups in terms of employment contributions were landscape services (51,748 jobs), municipal governments (9,603 jobs), nursery production (7,318 jobs), wholesale trade (7,034 jobs), landscape architecture (3,107 jobs), and retail garden stores (1,391 jobs). Total state and local taxes generated by urban forestry were $334 M and taxes generated for the federal government totaled $758 M.

Urban forests also provide substantial non-market environmental services including shade, windbreaks, stormwater runoff reduction, oxygen release, carbon storage, and wildlife habitat, and contribute to quality of life in human communities. Secondary data sources and value transfer methods were used to estimate the annual environmental benefit value of Florida’s urban forests. Benefits of Florida’s 15.2 M publicly owned trees in urban forestry stewardship were valued at $96.89 per tree, or a total of $1.468 B annually.

Suggested Citation: Hodges, Alan W. and C. Court “Economic Contributions of Urban Forestry in Florida in 2017.” Economic Impact Analysis Program, University of Florida-IFAS, Food & Resource Economics Department, Gainesville, FL, May 2019.