Benefits of trees
Why are trees important?
Trees filter the water we drink, clean the air we breathe, and provide habitat to over 80% of the world's terrestrial biodiversity. Forests provide jobs to over 1.6 billion people, absorb harmful carbon from the atmosphere, and are key ingredients in 25% of all medicines.
Trees are sometimes referred to as the lungs of the earth. They clean the air we breathe by absorbing pollutants through their leaves and releasing clean oxygen through photosynthesis. Fossil fuel combustion and deforestation increase carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Strong and healthy trees act as carbon sponges to offset carbon and diminish the effects of climate change.
Trees capture rainwater before reaching the ground and roots hold soil in place, which helps reduce the risk of flooding and erosion. Their root system also functions like a filter to remove pollutants and slow down water absorption in soil. According to the National Wildlife Federation, one hundred mature trees can intercept about 100,000 gallons of rainfall this year.
Trees help reduce air temperature and humidity. Evaporation of water from trees has a cooling effect. Dark roofs and pavement absorb solar energy and radiate it back, causing cities to develop “heat islands.” Planting trees throughout parking lots has been shown to reduce interior car temperature by up to 47 degrees Fahrenheit and asphalt temperatures by up to 36 degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately, a mature tree can absorb an average of 22lbs of carbon dioxide per year, making cities a healthier, safer place to live.
Deciduous trees are best for shading a house from the hot summer sun, which helps to reduce air conditioning costs. During the winter they lose their leaves, which exposes the house to the winter warming sun. This reduces the energy requirements needed to heat the house. Coniferous trees retain their needles year-round. When planted on the north and northwest sides of a building they reduce wind exposure, resulting in lowering winter heating costs.
Research shows that home values near trees are 9 to 15 percent higher than homes without. Additionally, shoppers tend to linger longer and pay more for goods and services that are located along a shaded avenue.
Trees attract wildlife and other plants, ensuring a healthier ecosystem. They also provide food and shelter for birds and small animals.
Data shows that apartment complexes with high levels of foliage have considerably fewer crimes than those without any trees.
Exposure to trees has been shown to have a relaxing effect on humans, which reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and improves mood.
Tree planting programs promote environmental responsibility and ethics amongst the community.