Tree Benefits

Benefits of Trees

                

Urban forests yield countless benefits to us and our surrounding environment. Trees can improve air quality, support environmental health, strengthen communities, promote physical and mental health, and provide economic advantages. Explore the following pages for more information and additional resources on the specific benefits trees supply.

 

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Environmental Health Benefits of Trees

Trees offer various means for supporting the overall health of the environment. Trees supply wildlife habitats, increase biodiversity, and reduce climate change. Check out the following resources to discover the ways trees promote environmental health.

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  • Urban Nature: How to Foster Biodiversity
    • The urban tree canopy, through the inclusion of a variety of native species, can help support, shelter and feed many species of birds and other wildlife that are often overlooked in cities.
  • Trees for Wildlife: Benefits for Wildlife
    • All stages of tree life and death are beneficial to wildlife, and should be incorporated into urban forests. Dead and decaying trees provide nesting, shelter, and nutrient recycling for many animals and plants, while complementing the canopy’s living trees.

Trees also offer specific water benefits. Trees intercept rainfall before it hits the ground, allowing for a slower release into the ground and evaporation. In addition, tree roots absorb storm water and stabilize fragile slopes and riparian zones - reducing sediment run-off. According to the 2014 City of Pittsburgh Street Tree Inventory, the city's 33,000 street trees alone intercept 15 million gallons of stormwater a year, for an average of 60 gallons per tree. This figure will only increase as the tree canopy matures.

 

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Air Quality Benefits of Trees

Trees work in many different ways to improve the quality of the air. Removal of air pollutants and reduction of ozone formation are just a few of the ways that trees enhance atmospheric conditions. To find out more ways trees help boost air quality, explore the resources below. 

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  • The Effects of Urban Trees on Air Quality
    • In addition to removing pollutants, city trees create microclimates that help to shade and cool many concrete and metal urban structures. Lowering the temperature of an urban ‘heat island’ through trees can lead to more energy efficiency.
  • Carbon Storage and Sequestration by Urban Trees in the USA
    • Size matters: Fast growing, large trees in the open canopy of the urban forest sequester and store more carbon on average than their densely concentrated rural relatives.

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Social Benefits of Trees

Trees foster a strong social community. Having trees in communities have been known to strengthen social development, reduce crime, and provide spaces for people to come together. Consider the following resources to discover how trees build a better community.

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Health Benefits of Trees

Trees contribute multiple benefits to our health. Promoting physical activity, increasing hospital recovery time, lessening the symptoms of ADD, and reducing noise and exposure to Ultraviolet rays are just a handful of the ways trees boost physical well-being. Check out the resources below to learn more about the ways trees improve health.

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  • Trees Linked With Human Health, Study Suggests
    • People living in an area recently cleared of its trees suffer increased rates of death from heart and respiratory disorders.
  • How Hospital Gardens Help Patients Heal
    • Less than 10 minutes viewing the elements of nature, including trees, can lower blood pressure, alleviate muscle tension, and alter heart and brain electrical activity enough to induce relaxation, having long-term affects on overall health.
  • Trees could affect land use, reduce skin cancer
    • A tree providing 50% canopy coverage can protect a person sheltering beneath its branches from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation for up to 100 minutes; someone standing beneath a canopy of 90% coverage benefits from UV ray protection the equivalent of wearing SPF 10 sunscreen.
  • Using Trees and Shrubs to Reduce Noise
    • Urban noise can be distracting, if not downright aggravating. A vegetative buffer 100 ft wide can reduce noise levels 5-8 decibels; evergreen trees offer year-round noise reduction.
  • How living near trees can save your life
    • The air pollution remediating benefits of trees are most effective in areas of greater population density, like urban areas. One estimate quotes that up to $6 billion in healthcare costs can be avoided by planting more trees.
  • A Tree-lined Path to Good Health
    • A Japanese traditional healing method know as shinrinyoku , or 'forest bathing,' connects regular time spent in forest areas with a stonger immune system response. In this tradition it is believed that trees release an array of phytoncides, organic antimicrobial essential oils that stimulate immune response.
  • The Health Benefits of Trees
    • A study has shown that women recently diagnosed with breast cancer had better focus and concentration after spending just two hours a week in natural settings.
  • Londoners Living Near Street Trees Get Prescribed Fewer Antidepressants
    • Urbanites whose home range includes tree-lined streets are diagnosed and treated for symptoms of clinical depression less often
  • Green Space Will Lower Stress For City Dwellers, Reduce Heart Risks
    • An individual's heart rate drops an average of 5 beats per minute (bpm) in the presence of city spaces "post-beautification" by tree planting and incorporating greenspace. Overall levels of feelings of optimism increase in the same environment.
  • Scientists discover that living near trees is good for your health
    • According to a Canadian study, urban street trees have even more health benefits to the general population, based in part on their increased accessibility.

 

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Economic Benefits of Trees

Trees provide numerous economic benefits. Trees can increase the economic revenue for retail shops, prevent unnecessary costs of road maintenance, and increase property values. Explore the following resources, which explain how trees can aid the economy.

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  • Money Growing on Trees
    • New software systems developed by the US Forest Service can break down the economic benefits of individual trees in an urban forest; using the software program ‘i-Tree’, it has been determined that each tree in New York city  provides $9.02 annually in air pollution reduction, $1.29 in carbon sequestration and $61 in storm-water abatement.
  • How Trees Can Boost a Home's Sale Price
    • Residental properties with ‘street trees’, located between the sidewalk and the street, sell at a premium, and sell faster than properties devoid of prominent trees. Neighboring property values of residences adjacent to trees escalate as well, even if there are no trees on the actual property in question.

 

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