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Urban trees provide a range of benefits or ‘ecosystem services’ to society. The provision of these benefits depends on many factors, including the species of tree, its stature, location, condition and management. Ecosystem service delivery is one of many factors to be considered in selecting a tree. Other important considerations include the suitability of the species to the location, resilience to climate change and pest and diseases, and the diversity of the wider urban forest. Research comparing the provision of four ecosystem services (carbon storage, rainfall interception, pollution removal and amenity) by 30 urban tree species in three size groups (small, medium and large) over 100 years has shown that tree species, size, and location affect the delivery of ecosystem services over time. Results show that larger sized trees provide greater benefits than smaller and shorter-lived counterparts, even over short time frames. They also show that trees planted in open locations provide greater levels of benefit compared with those in more enclosed settings.

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