To the rapid traveler, the number of elms in a town is a measure of its civility.-Henry David Thoreau
Open any magazine on architecture or gardening and chances are you will find dozens of pictures of “dream homes” surrounded by trees. Because most people prefer to live, work, and visit beautiful places, trees are one of a community’s most vital assets. Trees contribute to the beauty and character of the local landscape. Different native species distinguish one place from another. And trees shape the perception and feelings about our neighborhoods by framing buildings and enhancing open spaces.
Trees are critical to the overall quality of our environment. They offset development impacts, significantly diminish noise pollution, lower air temperature, reduce smog, remove pollutants from the air, and decrease topsoil erosion. Trees are a critical component of numerous ecosystems and provide habitats for songbirds, small forest animals, wildflowers, and smaller understory trees.
Benefits of Protecting your Community’s Trees
As important as trees are, their survival is often threatened by development. For instance, developers commonly clear-cut building sites to make construction faster and easier. Millions of trees are needlessly destroyed in this way each year because many communities do not have strong tree preservation ordinances.
Tree conservation can have positive environmental, economic, and health benefits for communities.
Top 10 Reasons We Need Trees:
Source: USDA Forest Service
1. Trees help purify the air we breathe by absorbing pollutants.
2. Trees increase property values and improve the tax base in communities.
3. Trees improve neighborhood appeal, attracting business, shoppers, and homeowners.
4. Trees cool our cities and towns by reducing heat generated by buildings and paved surfaces.
5. Tree shade, properly placed, can save an average household up to $250 annually in energy costs.
6. Trees reduce the number of pollutants in sewer systems, saving communities millions of dollars in water treatment costs.
7. Trees soften harsh building lines and large expanses of pavement, making urban environments much more pleasant.
8. Trees provide habitat for birds and other wildlife, maintaining a balance with nature even in urban areas.
9. Trees reduce the amount of water-borne pollutants that reach streams and rivers.
10. Trees reduce levels of domestic violence and foster safer, more sociable neighborhood environments.