The purpose of damages is to compensate an individual for an injury or wrong, where the loss or diminution is proximately caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of another. The purpose of a measure of damages is to ascertain what compensation to award the injured person. The courts have held that the general measure for damage to real property is the difference between the market value of the property before the injury and its value after the injury. Although there is no fixed, arbitrable, or absolute rule regarding damages for the loss of trees to realty, the courts generally look upon a loss of trees as an injury to the land and apply the general measure of damage for real property, known as the "before and after" rule. They have recognized the limitations of the general rule and regard the facts of the case as a determinant as to what other measures of damages may be used. In determining what measure or rule to use for the loss of trees to realty, four classifications are used; (1) timber, (2) fruit, nut and other productive trees, (3) shade and ornamental trees, and (4) nursery trees and stock.
Evelyn Stebbins and Charles G. Sabo,
Damages for Loss of Trees,
21 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol21/iss1/19