by FJ Escobedo, JE Wagner, DJ Nowak, CL De La Maza, M Rodrigues, DE Crane

Journal of Environmental Management 86: 148-157


The air quality of Santiago, Chile is among the worst in Latin America. In response, Santiago’s government has adopted a plan to use street trees to reduce air pollution in the metropolitan area; part of a larger atmospheric pollution reduction plan by the regional government. This article examines the cost-effectiveness of this policy. The study used cost effectiveness and selecting least cost alternatives for obtaining the policy’s goals. The cost-effectiveness of the urban forests (trees, shrubs and grass) was calculated separately for the three socioeconomic groups of municipalities, as well as an overall average. Results suggest that in the case of Santiago, urban forests are a cost-effective approach for mollifying poor air quality based on World Bank criteria. The cost-effectiveness also compared favorably with other methods used by the city to improve air quality. The authors further suggest that the methodology employed could be applied to additional cities in order to examine the cost effectiveness of managing urban forest to improve air quality.

Region: Santiago, Chile
Publication Type: Journal article
Keywords: air pollution removal, air quality, ecosystem services, policy, street trees, and urban forest management