Community Parks Week
Celebrating Our Greenspaces
October 1 to 7
Planning and Information Guide
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TREES?
Most of us, when thinking about the many ways trees benefit our lives, focus on the number of products we derive from trees - building materials, paper, fibre, oils, gums, syrups, fruit and nuts. We also recognize the visual benefits we reap from trees as leaves change colour from season to season, and small trees group into larger trees.
However, few of us ever stop to realize that trees provide more than just products and ornamental beauty. Trees, in fact, offer an almost endless list of environmental and economic benefits, some of which are crucial to our well-being.
Trees offer benefits to:
A tree produces oxygen while using up carbon dioxide. Some scientists contend that the over-abundance of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere will lead to the "greenhouse effect".
A tree's foliage filters out fine particulates and smog, and also traps ash, dust, and pollen.
A tree's falling leaves and needles decompose. This decomposing material provides rich nutrients for the soil.
A tree's roots help to anchor the soil, thus preventing valuable topsoil from being blown away by the wind or washed away by the rain.
A tree's roots and canopy reduce flooding by allowing rain to percolate into the ground, which reduces rainfall run-off.
A tree, in addition to reducing topsoil erosion, also helps prevent harmful land pollutants contained in the soil from getting into our waterways.
A tree, in addition to slowing down water run-off, ensures that groundwater supplies are continually being replenished.
A tree's various parts absorb sound waves, deflect the waves in different directions, and thereby reduce the sound's intensity. Each 100 foot width of trees can absorb about 6 to 12 decibels of noise. Since a busy highway can generate as much as 72 decibels of sound, trees can make a significant and welcome reduction in noise levels.
A tree, such as a evergreen, if properly placed in your yard, can act as a windbreak and an insulator. In the winter, this can translate into lower home heating costs.
A tree, especially a deciduous, if strategically placed to provide shade for your home's roof and outside walls, can help reduce air conditioning costs in the summer.
A tree adds to the beauty and charm of the landscape and can therefore increase the property's value.
A tree breaks up the monotony of masonry, cement, metal and glass along city streets and sidewalks. Areas with trees often attract more people (e.g. tourists, customers).
A tree provides valuable play areas where children can climb, make a swing and build a tree-house. In urban areas, trees help children to see and appreciate nature.
A tree is often used by birds and small animals for shelter, nesting and for the storage of food. Again, this enables all of us to have some contact with nature.
A number of trees can help hide unsightly areas such as garbage dumps, highways, scrap yards, mine sites, etc.
As you can see, trees are a valuable resource providing both environmental and economic benefits.
By planting even a single tree, you can make a difference. Each tree will help to contribute to cleaner air, lower energy costs, greater protection of our soil and water supplies, reduced noise levels, and a more serene and beautiful environment in which to live.
Consult your local nursery, landscape architect or parks department to find the tree that is right for your needs and location.
Information reprinted with permission from Arbor Week Information and Planning Kit.