Review: street tree valuation systems


What is the best way to assess how local people and the economy benefit from street trees?

SummaryUrban forestry . Very large tree in front garden on a housing estate . Location: Perth , Tayside , Scotland .Urban forestry . Tree growing in the front garden of a modern house . This mature tree is damaged by the development ; root compaction is causing dieback and the tree is likely to become dangerous . Location: Fleet , Hampshire , England .

Local authorities have a duty to protect trees that are considered to be in the public’s interest, but there are several methodologies for estimating their amenity value. Forest Research conducted a literature and methodological review of three different valuation systems: ‘Capital Asset Value for Amenity Trees’ (CAVAT), Helliwell and i-Tree (originated in the United States).

Key findings

  • i-Tree
    Free, non-proprietary, open-source system
    Strong emphasis on assessing economic and environmental annual benefits
    Covers the social and cultural component of value
    Significant advantages of flexibility, detailed output and allowing a wide range of benefits to be assessed, provided data is available
    Meets the needs of small communities and large city metropolitan areas.
    Considers the value of a tree over its remaining expected lifetime
    Covers social and cultural issues
    Simpler to implement if data is limited
  • Helliwell
    Emphasis on visual amenity
    Generates the most variable valuation outcomes
    Best suited to single tree and small-scale community evaluations, but can also handle urban woodlands


Report - Street tree valuation systems research note

Project summary sheet

Funders and partners

Commissioned and funded by the Forestry Commission


The project was completed in 2008.


Vadim Saraev