When people think of how trees and other plant life are beneficial, it’s usually in the context of the environment and large remote forests. But trees play a vital role in urban settings as well, and in more ways than you may realize.
Trees Clean the Air
Planting trees is a very affordable means of removing excess CO2 from the atmosphere. Additional pollutants can be controlled, at least in part, by trees, including nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxides, carbon monoxide, ozone, and small particulates. Up to 60 percent of street level particulates can be reduced by trees.
Urban areas are missing plenty of opportunities. According to the National Wildlife Federation, there may be as many as 200 million spaces on our city streets with room for trees to be planted. In a perfect world, if that space had trees planted, they estimate an energy cost savings of $4 billion and the potential for absorbing 33 million additional tons of CO2 every year.
Trees Benefit the Economy
A survey revealed that 74 percent of the public preferred to patronize businesses that incorporated trees and other landscaping features around its structure and parking lots.
Trees Shrink Utility Bills
When summer heat is beating down, having trees placed in just the right spots can cut your air conditioning expense by more than 50 percent.
Trees Increase Home Values
According to Arbor National Mortgage & American Forests, the vast majority of Realtors they surveyed believe mature trees increase the salability of a home. Nearly all (98 percent) believed this to be true with homes over $250,000.
According to the Georgia Urban Forest Council, homes that are adjacent to parks and open spaces can be as much as 20 percent higher in value than comparable properties.
Trees Can Reduce Crime
A study from the University of Illinois found that urban trees “are directly correlated with lower levels of fear, fewer incivilities, and less violent and aggressive behavior.” Inner cities that are greener also tend to have a lower crime rate.
Health Benefits of Trees
Nature has the power to heal as well, and not just in its positive environmental impact. In 1984, environmental psychologist Roger Ulrich was the first to use modern medical research standards to prove what many of us already know from firsthand experience… that being around our natural environment makes us feel better.
But Ulrich’s study found that hospital patients who had window views of leafy trees healed faster, needed significantly fewer pain medications, and experienced fewer post-surgery complications.
The impact trees have on our society, from health to economics, is immeasurable. By planting a tree, in your own small way, you are contributing to a much bigger purpose that can reach beyond the beauty it brings to your property.