There are two main reasons why we need to plant as many trees as possible.
1. Tree's provide vital human benefits.
Planting trees and expanding parklands improves the air quality. A total of 300 trees can counter balance the amount of pollution one person produces in a lifetime. Trees remove such pollution as Carbon Dioxide, Sulfur Dioxide, Ozone, Nitrogen Oxide (think car exhaust), and hundreds of other particulates. Breathing these molecules can cause respiratory damage as well as cancer. Did you know there is a 60% reduction in street level pollution from having adequate tree coverage? Lets clean the air with more trees.
Trees produce cleaner water for us and the rest of our environment. Our groundwater supply, lakes, rivers and oceans are all effected by land pollutants. Trees act as natural pollution filters. Their canopies, trunks, roots, and associated soil and other natural elements of the landscape filter polluted particulate matter out acting as a free and natural water filter. For every 5% of tree cover added to a community, stormwater runoff is reduced by approximately 2%. Lets clean our water with more trees.
Urban forests save energy. Trees lower local air temperatures by transpiring water and shading surfaces. Because they lower air temperatures, shade buildings in the summer, and block winter winds, they can reduce building energy use and cooling costs. The evaporation from a single large tree can produce the cooling effect of 10 room size air conditioners operating 24 hours/day. The annual effect of well-positioned trees can reduce your energy bill by 20-25% when compared to a house in a wide-open area. Projections suggest that 100 million additional mature trees in US cities (3 trees for every unshaded single family home) could save over $2 billion in energy costs per year. Lets save energy with more trees.
It's not just for us but trees are an irreplaceable link in the circle of life and maintaining biodiversity. Wildlife use trees for food, shelter, nesting, and mating. These habitats support the incredible variety of living things on the planet. Lets save wildlife with more trees.
2. Trees reverse climate change
Deforestation is one of the top culprits in the climate change crises. Planting trees remains one of the cheapest, most effective means of drawing excess CO2 from the atmosphere. A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 lbs./year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support 2 human beings. Over a 50-year lifetime, a tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion as of 2008.
Heat from Earth is trapped in the atmosphere due to high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases that prohibit it from releasing heat into space -- creating a phenomenon known as the "greenhouse effect." Trees remove (sequester) CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis to form carbohydrates that are used in plant structure/function and return oxygen back to the atmosphere as a byproduct. About half of the greenhouse effect is caused by CO2. Trees therefore act as a carbon sink by removing the carbon and storing it as cellulose in their trunk, branches, leaves and roots while releasing oxygen back into the air.
Other notable benefits from trees
- Trees extend the life of paved surfaces.
- It has been shown that people drive slower on streets with trees which increases traffic safety.
- Property values increase 5-15% when compared to properties without trees.
- Businesses leasing office spaces in developments with trees find their workers are more productive and absenteeism is reduced.
- People linger and shop longer along tree-lined streets.
- Trees reduce noise pollution by acting as a buffer and absorbing 50% of urban noise.