Healthy trees can improve our quality of life by providing food, cleaner air and water, regulating temperatures, supporting pollination and providing recreational, health and spiritual benefits.
Here are some easy ways in which urban trees and woodlots contribute to making cities more environmentally sustainable and livable:
Trees can contribute to the increase of local food and nutrition security, providing food such as fruits and nuts for wildlife and human consumption.
Trees play an important role in increasing urban biodiversity, providing plants and animals with a proper habitat, food and protection.
A mature tree can absorb up to 350 lbs. of CO2 per year. As a result, trees play an important role in climate change mitigation. In cities with high levels of pollution, trees can improve air quality making cities healthier places to live in.
Strategic placement of trees in cities can help to cool the air between 30-40o F, thus reducing the urban “heat island” effect, helping reduce extreme heat conditions in summer weather.
Large trees are great biological filters for urban pollutants and particulate pollution. They absorb pollutant gases (such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone and Sulphur oxides) and filter fine particulates such as dust, dirt, or smoke out of the air by trapping them on leaves and bark.
Research shows that living in close proximity of urban green spaces and having access to them, can improve physical and mental health, for example by decreasing high blood pressure and stress. Also, research indicates greatly improved neo-natal health as well. This, in turn, contributes to the well-being of urban communities.
Mature trees regulate water flow and play a key role in preventing floods and reducing the risk of sewer overflow. Stormwater management is a crucial city infrastructure issue and trees help. A mature tree, for instance, can intercept more than 5,000 gallons of water per year and without trees, every rain would contribute floods.
Trees also help to reduce carbon emissions by helping to conserve energy. For example, the correct placement of trees around buildings can reduce the need for air conditioning by 30 percent and reduce winter heating bills by 20-50 percent.
Planning urban landscapes with trees can increase property value, by up to 15 percent, and attract tourism and business.
Planting trees is important, but their maintenance is equally as important. A way for homeowners to ensure their trees stay healthy is by hiring an arborist. Professional, trained arborists know how to properly maintain trees for the safety of the public and the health of the tree.
This brief tutorial shows how to use the Trees Are Good website to find an arborist near you, verify credentials and where to find more information on trees.