According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.”
As I was reading about functions trees provide us I thought of them as “air scrubbers”. Another place mentioned they were the lungs of the planet. Every day they remove dust and other pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide from our air. After they clean the air the helpful rains was it all away.
It’s not just we what see above ground that is important either. Far reaching roots hold soil in place and fight erosion. Trees absorb and store rainwater this helps the ground water supply recharge, prevents the transport of chemicals into streams and prevents flooding. Every fall the leaves left behind make great mulch and excellent compost. This helps enrich the surrounding soil.
A community with trees has more social value and a quality of life is increased by bringing natural elements and wildlife habitats into urban settings. Trees reduce bothersome noise by up to 50%. Using trees in cities to deflect the sunlight reduces the heat island effect caused by pavement and commercial buildings.
If the animals could speak they’d tell you how important trees are to them. Many animals eat the leaves for nourishment. Flowers on the blooming trees are enjoyed by many an animal species. Of course, hundreds of living creatures call trees their home.
Just being around trees makes you feel good. Can you imagine your community without trees? Trees, especially in urban areas, have numerous social benefits. For example, the addition of trees to a neighborhood or a business district can greatly improve the mental and physical health of residents and workers. In fact, the University of Cambridge did a study on job satisfaction of employees of business with a view of trees from their office. They found that these employees suffered from fewer diseases than workers without a view of trees. See here for more information on the study.
How many of you have planted a tree on a meaningful occasion, the birth of a new baby or the loss of a loved one. Trees help record your family history and leave a story for generations to come. How many of your childhood memories include the trees in your backyard or old neighborhood? The sentimental value of a special tree is priceless.
I had never considered that a tree could help a special child with a learning disorder. Children that suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can benefit from the presence of trees and other greenery. Kids with ADHD have been proven to be calmer, more responsive, and better able to concentrate when in a space with lots of trees. (Source: Taylor, A.F.; Kuo, F.; Sullivan,W. 2001. Coping with ADD: The Surprising Connection to Green Play Settings. Environment and Behavior)
Finally planting a tree can significantly increase your property values? As an example, the U.S. Tax Court recently calculated a value of 9 percent ($15,000) for the removal of a large black oak on a piece of property valued at $164,500. (Source: Neely, D., ed. 1988. Valuation of Landscape Trees, Shrubs, and Other Plants.)
Houses with trees are also more attractive to visitors, potential buyers, and neighbors. Neighborhoods with lots of trees also report less crime! (Source: Kuo, F.; Sullivan,W. 2001. Environment and Crime in the Inner City: Does Vegetation Reduce Crime? Environment and Behavior 33(3).) There is no doubt that if you plant trees in your community, people will see and feel the difference.
At the library’s green fair “150 ways to get your green on”. We’ll start you off by giving the first 200 visitors a free lilac bush (bushes are helpful like trees). So stop on buy and get your green on April 16, 2011.
Stop by the library any time and check out some books on growing trees.