Trees are vital, without them we lose essential functions for life on Earth. Urban forests help turn our cities green and transform water, nutrients and carbon dioxide into clean air, oxygen, shade and habitat.
Everyone is outside these days, taking long walks in the park or on hiking trails and creating new spaces in their own backyards which is why now is the best time to learn about trees. As part of our re-launch of Canopy for Community we are focusing on forest. Here are six services that trees provide:
#1 Trees Are A Breath of Fresh Air
The canopies of trees act as a physical filter absorbing pollutants from the air. Through a process called photosynthesis, leaves pull carbon dioxide, water and use the energy from the sun to convert this into sugars that feed the tree. As a by product oxygen is produced and released by the tree. According to the Arbour Day Foundation, a mature tree will absorb more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen in exchange.
#2 Trees Make Cities Cooler
The urban heat island effect happens when closely packed buildings and large swaths of asphalt and cement surfaces that make up our city, trap heat. According to the Climate Atlas of Canada, on a sunny day paved surfaces can be 27-50°C hotter than the air. On the other hand extending green spaces such as parks or urban forests, keeps cities cooler.
#3 Trees Help Keep Us Safe
A study conducted In Baltimore, found that a 10% increase in tree canopy corresponded to a 12% decrease in crime.
#4 Trees Can Save Money
“Every dollar spent on planting and caring for a community tree yields benefits that are two to five times that investment—benefits that include cleaner air, lower energy costs, improved water quality and storm water control and increased property values.”
#5 Trees help buffer Noise
Do you live next to a busy road? Plant some trees. Trees muffle out the noise of those loud mufflers.
#6 Trees Contribute To Your Well-being
Exposure to trees and nature reduces mental fatigue and can reduce blood pressure and muscle tension. A study of 10 cities found community forests save an average of one life each year. In New York City, trees save an average of eight lives every year.
share U.S. Forest Service, 2013
Next time you are outdoors, take a deep breath and thank a tree or better yet request a free tree for your neighbourhood from the City of Hamilton Street Tree Planting Program. Request your tree Here. When we plant more trees in our neighbourhoods everyone can benefit.