Master of Environmental Studies Capstone Projects

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



The University of Pennsylvania is situated on a rapidly growing and highly urbanized campus that, as of the summer of 2015, contained over 6,000 trees. Trees play an important ecological role within the urban environment, as well as support improved public health and provide aesthetic benefits to cities (Nowak et al. 2008; McPherson et al., 2003). This capstone project used the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service’s software, i-Tree Eco, to quantify the ecosystem benefits that the University of Pennsylvania urban forest conveys to its community. Field research teams collected data on location and tree canopy size for 4,086 trees on 160 acres in the core of the Philadelphia campus during the summer of 2015. Trees within the Core Campus were estimated to store a total of 1,576,717 lbs of carbon and prevented $51,871 in building heating/cooling energy costs. This project will give Penn Facilities and Real Estate Services decision makers a more complete assessment of the value of their urban trees. This work will inform future tree management practices and create a precedent for ongoing urban forestry research efforts at Penn.



Date Posted: 23 February 2016