Trees play an important role in urban areas and provide residents, business owners, schools, and the environment with a host of benefits. Below are just some of the ways in which everyone benefits from a healthy urban forest.
The Value of a Healthy Urban Forest
- Aesthetics - Trees add beauty to an area. They soften the look of buildings and homes, screen unsightly views and add color.
- Property Values - Studies conducted by the U.S. Forest Service show trees increase real estate value anywhere from 1-10% depending on type and size.
- Energy Savings - Trees reduce energy consumption by direct and indirect cooling. Shade reduces the amount of heat surfaces absorb and reduces the use of air-conditioning. The U.S. Forest Service estimates the annual effect of well-positioned trees on energy use in conventional houses at savings between 20-25% when compared to a house in a wide-open area.
- Air Quality - Leaves filter the air by removing dust and other particulates. They absorb carbon dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide, and give off oxygen. Tree lined streets can reduce up to 60% of street particulates.
- Water Quality - Trees capture rainwater and remove impurities, reduce volume into storm drain systems and peak creek flows, which decreases stormwater runoff and reduces creek and ocean pollution.
- Quality of Life - Trees attribute to overall increased health, increased work productivity, and reduced aggressive driving (U.S. Forest Service). They protect natural resources by providing, clean air, scenic views, and cultural and historical background.
- Wildlife Habitat - Urban trees offer habitat to birds, insects, mammals, fish, and amphibian species. They play an important role as stopover sites for migrating birds and insects, act as corridors for mammals and help regulate creek temperatures for fish.
To calculate the value of trees in your yard visit the National Tree Benefit Calculator.
Center For Urban Forest Research, US Forest Service
Green Cities: Good Health, US Forest Service and the University of Washington
Human Dimensions of Urban Forestry, University of Washington
Landscape and Human Health Laboratory, University of Illinois