Benefits of Trees

Trees are good for us. street trees (or public trees) create enormous financial & aesthetic benefit for human beings, not to mention the benefit to wildlife. 

THE BENEFIT OF TREES 

IMG_2773Property values increase when there are visually beautiful street trees within view.  If the street is tree-lined or there is a beautiful tree directly in the front of the property, real estate agents use this as a selling point.  Streets that are barren of trees generally have a lower value regardless of the housing.  The exception is where removing a tree will increase a water view.

IMG_7833Trees create shade.  Shade benefits pedestrians, provides a cool spot on hot days for people to enjoy the outside & lowers household cooling costs.  Even if trees do not directly shade the house, their presence reduces & cools the air temperature around the house.  Windows can be opened to allow the flow of cool air instead of relying on air-conditioning systems, reducing energy costs & impact on global warming. 

P1000148Street trees provide food & housing for birds and small animals. As native birds continue to lose their homes due to the spread of Australia’s cities, scientists are urging householders to help save them by planting more Australian trees.

 

  • Trees remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the surrounding air through their leaves.  They store CO2 in their trunk lowering air pollution levels.  The more trees in an area, the better the air quality & the more trees, the more beneficial it is for our planet. Street trees remove 9 times more pollutants from vehicles than trees located further away from the road.  Obviously an older, larger tree has more ability to remove CO2 from the air than does a short stature tree (7.5 metres or less). 

  • Trees produce oxygen.  A mature tree will produce enough oxygen to support 2 human beings & will absorb 20 kg CO2 per year. A recent study in the US (USDA Forest Service Pamphlet #R1-92-100) stated that one street tree generates US$31,250 worth of oxygen & provides US$62,000 worth of air pollution control over 50 years.  This translates into enormous cost benefit to the community.

  • Tree leaves filter air-borne particle matter such as dirt, dust & the sooty bi-product from car & truck exhausts.  If you live on a busy street, you will notice this collecting on your windows, ledges & front door.  Asthma & other respiratory illnesses are exacerbated by exhaust pollution from vehicles.

  • Trees reduce storm water runoff by collecting water through their leaves, bark & roots.  This process often collects pollutants that would otherwise end up in our drains & ultimately in our rivers.

  • Trees also reduce soil erosion.

  • Street trees help buffer & deflect traffic noise thereby reducing noise pollution.

  • Research has shown that street trees with large canopies give drivers the impression of narrower streets, which results in reduced speed.  Reduced speed results in less traffic accidents.

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Not bad for the humble street tree. Not only are trees good for us, their presence results in higher property values.  Areas that have many large trees are regarded as ‘better suburbs’ & housing prices reflect this.  

With global warming a reality, it won’t be too long before trees will be deemed an absolute necessity in urban planning & not something councils consider as expendable.  Without public trees, our streets & homes will be baking hot & many of us will not be able to afford the high costs of running air-conditioners or other cooling systems, even if there is no energy use restrictions.

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