This blog is a part of Zenitex initiative and its passion for the value of urban trees and greenspaces, and it helps in enhancing our communities.
We love trees! Many people enjoy looking at trees, even occasionally planting one on World Environment Day. While the general opinion is in favour of trees, we are sometimes hesitant to have them in urban or suburban settings near our homes and streets because we’re intimidated by the damage they can cause if they fall or the effort they can require to maintain or more frequently a building developer or owner of the house will not like trees on the campus as they will lose on space. In reality, a properly chosen and placed tree requires little maintenance after establishment, and as long as that maintenance is attended to, the chances of a tree crashing down on your house without warning are low. But over and above that, urban trees are important because they provide tremendous benefits to our environment, communities, health, and even economy. Below are the top 10 benefits of urban trees.
#10: Producing Oxygen : You might wonder that oxygen is the most important part of our life, then why are we placing this benefit at the bottom of the list? Though Trees produce oxygen, the amount produced by urban trees isn’t much compared to the amount produced by the oceans and forests of the world, and that oxygen finds its way through the atmosphere to areas far from oceans and large forests in its unique ways.
#9: Noise Reduction/Screening : Trees help create a quite spot in the city and they also buffer the noise from the busy road in the city or highway. Not only they reduce some of the sound physically, but they also mask unpleasant sounds with their own soothing noises of rustling leaves and birdsongs.
#8: Wildlife Habitat : Wildlife cannot exist much without trees, Wildlife provides opportunities for informal education and nurturing curiosity, it is essential to our urban ecosystem. Hundreds of species of native insects live amongst the Native trees which in turn feed birds and other animals. Hence, making the Native Trees valuable.
#7: Radiation Protection from UV : A tree’s shade reduces UV exposure and delays sunburn. The benefit varies and depends on the density and spread of the canopy, however, dense shade offers up to 95% reduction in UV radiation.
#6: Improves Water Quality : Whenever we have heavy rains in our cities, we are at risk for a combined sewer overflow. This means that so much rain water is flowing off of our paved surfaces and into our sewer system that raw sewage overflows and gets into our natural waterways. Trees can reduce the number and severity of combined sewer overflows by collecting rain on leaves, bark, trunk and in the soil.
#5: Greenhouse Gas Reduction : Trees use the carbon dioxide in the air to make the sugars they need to live, and this helps offset the carbon dioxide we produce both biologically and through burning fossil fuels. An acre of full grown trees, in one year can consume carbon dioxide which is equal to carbon dioxide emitted by an average car while driven for 42,000 kilometres. Our urban forests aren’t large enough to totally compensate for the amount of carbon dioxide we produce, but they can certainly reduce it.
#4: Air Quality Improvement : Producing oxygen and capturing carbon dioxide are types of air quality improvement; however, trees don’t stop here. They also reduce air pollution as the trees catch particulate matter in the air that might otherwise turn into unhealthy smog or contribute to health issues like asthma.
#3: Health Benefits : Trees offer a few amazing and substantial health benefits. Trees reduce asthma and respiratory disease by reducing air pollution. Only by being around trees and other plants can have psychological effects similar to antidepressants and Attention Deficit Disorder medication, and they have been shown to reduce stress too. Hospital patients with a view of greenery recover faster and require less pain medication and have lesser complications than other patients without such a view.
#2: Beauty (Aesthetic) and Socio-Economic Benefits : We naturally understand the aesthetic benefits of trees. They’re beautiful, and they make the spaces around them more beautiful. The socio-economic benefits of trees are less obvious, but studies have shown that trees reduce crime rates and increase business sales, moreover, they also reduce traffic speeds. We already know that they increase property values and strengthen communities.
#1: Cooling and Energy Savings : Not all of these benefits can be measured in Rupees and Paisa, but this one can. Trees reduce heat through shade and evapotranspiration (as they pull water from the soil, more evaporates from the leaves and has a cooling effect), and in winters they act as windbreakers to reduce cold. Adding greenery to cities can reduce or even eliminate the urban heat island effect. The urban heat island effect explains that urban areas tend to be substantially warmer than suburban or rural areas due to the lack of green space and the abundance of heat reflecting surfaces like glass and asphalt (Tar).
These 10 are by no means the only benefits of urban trees, and many of these could be broken down into several separate benefits,
but this gives a glimpse about just how essential trees are in our communities.
We don’t need to be afraid of trees; we need to embrace them and the benefits they provide.
Thanks & Regards – Team ZENITEX