Healthy trees help our communities
The growing documentation of how trees improve the health and vitality of people, communities and the environment indicates that trees are more important than ever. And as trees grow and their canopy expands, so does their capacity to perform beneficial services and the return on the initial investment.
Reduce Energy Use
When properly placed around buildings (most effectively on the east, west and northwest sides), trees can reduce air conditioning needs by as much as 30 percent and also the energy needed for heating.
Lower Air and Surface Temperatures
Through the cooling effects of shade and evapotranspiration, trees planted strategically can mitigate heat-island effects of urban development (buildings, streets, parking lots). Tree-lined streets can make neighborhoods up to ten degrees cooler than those without trees.
Improve Air Quality
By releasing oxygen, absorbing pollutant gases (ozone, carbon monoxide and others) and filtering harmful particulates from the air, trees benefit human health and reduce medical costs.
Improve Public Health
Research documents the benefits of trees to both physical and mental health through their effects on reducing asthma, allergies, cardiovascular diseases, stress and other unhealthy conditions. Even views of trees can decrease recovery time from surgery and illness.
Make Neighborhoods Safer and More Sociable
Research shows correlations between the presence of trees and reductions in domestic violence, crime, aggressive behavior and driving speeds, and also that trees promote healthier social interaction, better school performance and more outdoor play and recreation.
Combat Climate Change
As more trees are planted and retained, more carbon dioxide is absorbed from the air and converted to carbon stored in the wood and to oxygen released to the air. The bigger the tree, the more carbon it holds. As dead trees decompose or are burned as firewood, they release their sequestered carbon as carbon dioxide.
Increase Property Values
Landscaping with trees boosts the value of homes, commercial properties, or development by five to 20 percent. Healthy, mature trees add an average of ten percent to a property’s value.
Extend Pavement Life and Reduce Maintenance Costs
The shade from trees slows the cracking and deterioration of streets and parking lots. If cars are also shaded, evaporative hydrocarbon emissions from fuel and volatilized plastics are also reduced.
Decrease Storm Water Runoff
As their canopy and roots intercept and absorb storm water runoff, trees act to reduce sewer overflows, flooding and stream bank erosion. A mature shade tree can hold over 100 gallons of rainwater on its leaf and branch surfaces. Forested areas serve to maintain more stable stream flow regimes and groundwater recharge.
Reduce Soil Erosion, Filter Water Pollutants, Stabilize Hillsides and Stream Banks
By holding soil in place, softening rainfall impact and slowing and absorbing storm water runoff, trees reduce water pollution, stabilize stream banks and hillsides and protect against landslides, which are prevalent in our region where soils are prone to slippage.
Sustain Wildlife and Support Wildlife Diversity
For the food and habitat they provide, trees are critical to the survival of many of our native species of birds and other wildlife, which in turn provide opportunities for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation activities.
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