The Benefits of Trees to the Environment are massive — stretching over long periods of time. By providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil, supporting wildlife, etc. But, eventually, tree planting in cities and urban areas still faces a difficult environment that needs to be addressed almost immediately.
Paved hardscapes limit access to rainfall irrigation and the engineered requirements of pavement are completely opposite to what a tree needs to grow. As an example, the adoption of GreenBlue Systems helps provide an optimal condition to give trees a fighting chance. Reaching maturity in otherwise, harsh urban conditions.
Equally important, soil support cells allow for generous root growth while also providing the structural stability needed for paved surfaces. Not forgetting, ArborSystem helps in all this by bringing together the key elements of successful tree pit design. Simplifying the design and installation process for specifiers and contractors.
Then again, desert greening projects are also motivated by improved biodiversity and the reclamation of natural water systems. But also, improved economic and social welfare due to an increased number of jobs in farming and forestry. With that in mind, let’s now have an overview of the main benefits of trees to our environment, the ecosystem, and the economy.
Why Are Trees Important?
Trees are vital to both environment and it’s ecosystem. As the biggest plants on the planet, they give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilize the soil and give life to the world’s wildlife. They also provide us with the materials for tools and shelter. They are not only essential for life, but as the longest-living species on earth, they link us between the past, present, and future.
Basically, it’s critical that woodlands, rainforests, and trees in urban settings, such as parks, are preserved and sustainably managed across the world. Thus, the more than a million reasons why tree planting is a must for cities. For one thing, trees improve the livability of our cities for countless benefits.
Resource Reference: Steps To Make Your Business Carbon-Neutral | Certification Process
Unfortunately, for many years tree canopy in our urban areas has been decreasing. Large mature trees that reach the end of their lives are often replaced with smaller species – if at all. These replanted trees then struggle to establish and reach maturity due to the demands of paved surroundings around them.
In reality, researchers have discovered reductions in both violent and petty crime. Including domestic violence through the therapeutic, calming influence of mature tree planting. As time has gone on, more and more research has confirmed the value and benefits that mature urban trees offer our cities.
The Benefits of Trees to The Environment
To begin with, the canopies of trees act as a physical filter, trapping dust and absorbing pollutants from the air. Each individual tree removes up to 1.7 kilos every year. They also provide shade from solar radiation and reduce noise. Over 20 species of British trees and shrubs are known to have medicinal properties.
The oil from birch bark, for example, has antiseptic properties. Research shows that within minutes of being surrounded by trees and green space, your blood pressure drops, your heart rate slows and your stress levels come down. On the same note, trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow and the carbon that they store in their wood helps slow the rate of global warming.
They reduce wind speeds and cool the air as they lose moisture and reflect heat upwards from their leaves. It’s estimated that trees can reduce the temperature in a city by up to 7°C. In addition, trees also help prevent flooding and soil erosion, absorbing thousands of liters of stormwater. But, there are many other benefits of trees to the environment to consider.
Free air conditioners and energy conservatives
Of course, we’re all talking about Climate Change. But, for more than the obvious, tree benefits sequester carbon (CO2). Whilst, reducing the overall concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Whereby, a tree is a natural air conditioner. The evaporation from a single tree can produce the cooling effect of ten room-size, residential air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. For instance, acting as a natural air-conditioner, Palo Alto’s lush canopy ensures that summer temperatures are at least 6 to 8 degrees lower than in comparable neighborhoods without trees.
Additionally, tree benefits us through windbreaking, reducing residential heating costs by 10-15%. While shading and evaporative cooling from trees can cut residential air-conditioning costs by 20-50%.
Helps in water filtration and retention
Urban forests promote beneficial water quality and reduce stormwater management costs. As an example, Palo Alto street and park trees can intercept 135 million gallons of rainwater. Trees capture and slow rainfall and their roots filter water and recharge the aquifer.
In addition, trees reduce stormwater runoff, which reduces flooding, and saves city stormwater management costs. Decreasing the flow of polluted water into the Bay. As well as protecting the banks of the San Francisquito Creek. Trees also provide natural wildlife habitats for numerous birds, insects, and animal species.
They increase our health and well-being
Notably, trees have proven to have a positive impact on a variety of health conditions. Like skin cancer, asthma, hypertension, and other stress-related illness. Especially, by filtering out polluted air, reducing smog formation, and providing shade from solar radiation. As well as, providing an attractive, calming setting for recreation.
In fact, Sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates, carbon monoxide, cadmium, nickel, and lead are all pollutants that trees work on. And in that case, constantly removing them from the air.
In addition, planting trees along the lanes also forms an effective sound-absorbing barrier. Particularly, to help reduce unwanted urban noise pollution. Above all, the biodiversity of trees in providing natural habitats for birds, squirrels, and other fauna is considered to some as incalculable. You can read more about trees and climate change in detail.
They provide a home to the wildlife
Trees host complex microhabitats. When young, they offer habitation and food to amazing communities of birds, insects, lichen, and fungi. When ancient, their trunks also provide the hollow cover needed by species such as bats, woodboring beetles, tawny owls, and woodpeckers. One mature oak can be home to as many as 500 different species.
As an example, Richmond Park is full of such trees, which is one of the reasons it has been designated a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The Benefits of Trees to The Economy
The other benefit of trees is to help strengthen the distinctive character of a place and encourage local pride. Urban woodland can be used as an educational resource and to bring groups together. Especially, for activities like walking and bird-watching. Trees are also invaluable for children to play in and discover their sense of adventure.
Communities and business districts with healthy tree cover attract new residents, industry, and commercial activity. Not forgetting, homes landscaped with trees sell more quickly. And they are worth 5% to 15% more than homes without trees. On the other hand, where the entire street is tree-lined, homes may be worth 25% more.
Trees enhance economic stability by attracting businesses. People linger and shop longer when trees are present. Where a canopy of trees exists, apartments and offices rent more quickly and have a higher occupancy rate; workers report more productivity and less absenteeism. As a matter of fact, most people get attracted to live, work and invest in green surroundings.
Research shows that average house prices are 5-18% higher when properties are close to mature trees. Companies benefit from a healthier, happier workforce if there are parks and trees nearby. But, there are other economical benefits.
Cost savings and aesthetic property value addition
For every Kshs. 100 spent on trees, there is a return benefit of Kshs. 250 received; according to the United States Forest Service. A similar study performed in the U.K. by Natural England calculated that every Kshs. 150 spent on tree planting yielded Kshs. 750 savings. Or even, a potential £2.1 billion if taken nationally.
Independent studies have shown a consistent 5-15% increase in property values on tree-lined streets. Proving that trees increase commercial and residential real estate values. Soon, for the first time in history, the number of people with homes in cities will outstrip those living in the countryside. Parks and trees will become an even more vital component of urban life.
Visual appeal and urban surrounding cooling effects
Few things can compare with the visual impact and seasonal interest that trees bring. They offer immense visual appeal to any area and will enhance the design of any streetscape. Reducing temperatures by shade and transpiring water. In the end, this helps in reducing air conditioning bills and energy use.
After all, studies report have even proven that one mature tree can produce the same cooling effect as 10 room-sized air conditioners. Therefore, this becomes an effective tool in reducing urban heat islands and hot spots in cities. This means, that we must respect them and protect them for the future at all costs.
Management of stormwater and increasing liveability
For every 5% of tree cover in a community, stormwater runoff is reduced by 2%. By all means, preventing stormwater runoff from reaching watercourses. Especially, with harmful chemicals collected from roads and sidewalks.
Of course, tree planting in cities significantly reduces wind speed up to a distance of 10 times their height. Naturally, trees improve the livability of urban areas for many reasons.
However, for several years now, tree canopy in our cities and towns has been diminishing. Then again, replanted trees often struggle to establish and reach maturity due to the demands of engineered surfaces around them.
Important to realize, the more mature the tree, the greater the benefits. Notably, there is a 3-7 % ozone reduction for every 10% canopy increase in urban. Trees are also proven to remove carbon from the air, getting absorbed and stored as cellulose in their trunks, branches, and leaves (a process known as sequestration).
Therefore, tree planting remains one of the most cost-effective ways of drawing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. A single mature tree can absorb CO2 at a rate of 21.6 KG/year. Releasing enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support 2 humans. Organizations such as ‘American Forests’ and ‘Trees Forever’ actively campaign in support of trees in urban areas.
- Our Work – American Forests
- The United States Forest Service – Homepage
- Trees Forever | Nonprofit Environmental Group | Iowa
- Establishing the Future Urban Landscape – GreenBlue
- The Green Belt Movement – Wangari Maathai
Research has also shown a 60% reduction in particulates from car exhaust fumes on streets lined with trees. Not to mention, trees can also save up to 10% of local energy consumption. Through their moderation of the local climate.
That’s it! With all these benefits in mind, we must ensure that new urban tree plantings receive what they need. Having said that, feel free to Donate and support our projects or even Contact Us if you have additional contributions. Finally, to learn more about the benefits of urban trees, Download the Free PDF Guide here to gather more details.