Urban Trees And Their Benefits
Trees are considered a form of “green infrastructure” providing many benefits to urban dwellers.
Social and community benefits
- Urban forests improve our quality of life and help to beautify communities.
- Trees and well- landscaped grounds are among the most important factors considered when individuals choose a place to live.
- Green spaces entice neighbours outdoors on a regular basis, where they build friendships and community ties.
- Workers with a view of nature from their desk were found to have better overall health, increased job satisfaction, less frustration with tasks and overall higher feelings of life satisfaction.
- Trees and green spaces can help ease the everyday pressures of life.
- Even brief encounters with nature can improve one’s ability to concentrate.
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) symptoms in children are relieved after spending time in nature.
- Roadside plantings and landscaping can reduce driver stress.
- Patients with views of trees from their hospital bed spend less time in the hospital than those with no view.
Crime and Safety
- In a study of inner city neighbourhoods in the U.S., greener residences had lower crime rates.
- Inner city families with trees and greenery in their immediate outdoor surroundings have safer domestic environments.
- Neighbourhoods with well cared for landscapes contribute to reduced feelings of fear and violence.
- Trees improve air quality by removing atmospheric carbon dioxide, absorbing air pollutants and producing oxygen. The average Canadian urban tree is estimated to remove about 200 kg of carbon over an 80 year period.
- An analysis of the Washington D.C. metro area concluded that tree cover generated annual air quality savings of $49.8 million.
Reduced energy costs
- Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save 20 - 50 per cent in energy used for heating.
- Trees prevent runoff and erosion, resulting in improved water quality and reduced stormwater runoff or flooding.
- For every 1000 trees, nearly one million gallons of stormwater run-off is prevented.
- Trees are a critical source of habitat for many wildlife.
- Property values of well-landscaped homes can be increased by 5-20 per cent.
- A study of urban forests shows that for each $1 invested in urban forest management, up to $3 in benefits is returned to residents through increased property values, removal of air pollutants, and energy savings through shade.
- Shoppers have indicated that they would be willing to spend up to 12 per cent more for products in business districts with attractive urban forests.
For more information
International Society of Arboriculture
National Arbor Day Foundation