Tree valuation now as changeable as tree risk calculation 4.8.2010


I received an email from someone who felt I had misquoted council’s stated valuation of the Laman Street Hill’s figs that council want to chop down even though there is nothing the matter with them.

 I wrote about this in ‘A quick vent’.I think what happened at last week’s presentation was loads of talk and long lists of the  costs (workshopped within an inch of their lives) for doing anything to the trees. Once everyone was overwhelmed by how huge all the amounts were councillors asked questions.

One question related to the environmental benefits of the trees, another related to the benefits in terms of endangered wildlife, and another related to the monetary value of the trees. The first two are going to be provided to councillors. Wouldn’t it be nice if these were to appear on the council’s website rather than just the negative spin about how they imagine there were problems with the trees and the soil when they were Just Planted and that they imagine there could have been root damage from roadworks.

I thought the infrastructure manager said the value of the trees was $87000 each. One of the reasons I think he said this was that you could almost hear the brains in the room grinding into gear to multiply $87 000 by 14. The total figure also coincided with an amount that has been mentioned before in articles about the trees. My correspondent thinks I heard wrongly.

So I looked up council’s own documents:


12: ‘Current estimated value of 14 Hills Fig assets in the Civic Cultural Precinct Laman Street is in excess of $1 million, based on Thyer methodology. This figure reflects amenity value/benefits accrued to the community from tree asset providing improved air quality, absorbing stormwater run-off, improving property appearance and shade/cooling.’

These are only a few of the benefits of these trees. I can recommend three good reads about the benefits of trees. 100 tree facts by Jacqueline at , ‘22 benefits of urban street trees‘  (900kb) by that terrific writer about urbanism and walkable cities Dan Burden and any number of articles at treenet‘s site. Looking for a fantastic (151 KB, 20 page) article by Jane Tarran on the benefits of street trees, ‘People and Trees: Providing Benefits, Overcoming Impediments’  I was distracted and instead just read that Prof Randy Stringer (32KB) says

…older, larger trees can provide up to 60 times greater benefits than smaller, younger trees.



Peter Thyer has a website and there he has a two page list of the factors to be taken into account when valuing trees.

Treeworld is an arborist forum with lots of questions and answers about arboriculture. This is a page about tree valuation that doesn’t take long to read:

My favourite bits are the differing amounts depending on the method used ; one arborist assessed the value of 4 different trees using 4 different methods (the methods are on the left of the table):

Cuppressus   Eucalyptus   Brachychiton   Poplar
Helliwell  $167,500   $50,000   $270,000   $255,000
MCC  $38,236   $14,000   $3,145   $10,096
Burnley   $3,350   $9,335  $2,650   $6,125
Aus Std   $13,650   $6,813  $60,843   $15,000

Another important thing to be aware of is expressed by Sean Freeman who says:

‘When values attributed to trees are assumed in the equation any variation between individual assessors becomes hugely significant when it comes to the latter values in the valuation method….this is also true in all the methods of risk assessment as well interestingly….’

 I had previously thought that trees were the only asset owned by councils that increase in value as they age. Apparently they can go from $1 million to $68 000 in less than 12 months. Yeah right.

As Keith Parsons said in his letter to the Herald on July 31 2010,

‘If my past experience counts for anything, I expect council senior managers will be determined to find an excuse to get rid of them on risk management/public liability grounds, an excuse often selectively used…

Replacement trees? The community needs to be vigilant. Councillors were assured by senior staff that once removed, the Tyrrell Street figs would be replaced by species that would also produce a canopy effect. The replacements, water gums and, later, tuckeroos will never achieve this.’

The photo below is by Doug Lithgow. Home



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One Response to “Tree valuation now as changeable as tree risk calculation 4.8.2010”

  1. Ali Says:

    I found this little historical stat under Councils website under HILL ST FIGS

    “2002 Dying PORT JACKSON FIG tree above the fountain removed.
    Council resolves to replace with Fig.
    Successive vandalism events required three replacement plantings to date.”

    Like ive said before lets hope any future tree replanting costs take into account the additional co$t of vanadlism & the reality that this is a problem all over the NCC LGA. Many costly trees planted in NCC never have the opportunity to grow!

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