Trees Can Do Just About Everything.
Here are a few “tree facts”:
- Trees give us oxygen, clean the air, and filter airborne pollutants.
- Trees conserve energy. Just three strategically placed trees can decrease utility bills by 50%.
- Urban trees in the U.S. remove 711,000 tons of air pollution annually, at a value of $3.8 billion.
- Trees and vegetation can raise property values up to 37%.
- Trees can reduce annual stormwater runoff by 2% — 7%.
- The net cooling effect of a healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
- Trees clean the air by absorbing carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides and other pollutants.
- Trees shade cars and parking lots, reducing ozone emissions from vehicles.
- Trees filter airborne pollutants and reduce the conditions that cause asthma and other respiratory problems.
- Get trees. Get healthy. Children and youth living in greener neighborhoods have lower body mass index.
- Trees reduce noise pollution by absorbing sounds.
- Urban trees in the U.S. store 700 million tons of carbon valued at $14 billion with an annual carbon sequestration rate of 22.8 million tons per year valued at $460 million annually.
- Trees provide habitat for hundreds of species.
Urban forestry is simply about trees in places where people live.
Every day across the country the public is learning the benefits of planting and protecting trees. For example, did you know that more trees correlates with:
- Lower crime. The presence of trees in urban neighborhoods has been linked to reduced crime.
- Cleaner air. Trees provide the oxygen we breathe. One acre of trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people to breathe each day and eliminates as much carbon dioxide from the air as is produced from driving a car 26,000 miles. Tree leaves help trap and remove tiny particles of soot and dust which otherwise damages human lungs and tree root networks filter contaminants in soils producing clean water. Forty trees will remove 80 pounds of air pollutants annually. That is, 4 million trees would save $20 million in annual air pollution cleanup.
- Energy savings. Trees lower the temperature through shade. The cooling effects of trees can save millions of energy dollars. 3–4 shade trees located strategically around a house can cut summer cooling costs by 30–50%. For one million trees, that’s $10 million in energy savings.
- More public revenue. Studies have shown that trees enhance community economic stability by attracting businesses and tourists. People linger and shop longer along tree-lined streets. 40,000 trees in commercials parking lots would induce shoppers to spend 11% more for goods and services.
- Higher property values. Property values of homes with trees in the landscape are 5 — 20% higher than equivalent properties without trees. 4000 trees in yards would increase the sales price of homes by 1%, plus increase the property values as much as 10%. That is an estimated annual increase in homes sale value of $10.4 million.
- More efficient stormwater management. Roots stabilize soil and prevent erosion by trapping soil that would otherwise become silt. Silt destroys fish eggs and other aquatic wildlife and makes rivers and streams shallower, causing more frequent and more severe flooding. Trees along streams hold stream banks in place to protect against flooding. One tree reduces 4,000 gallons of stormwater runoff annually. 400 trees will capture 140,000 gallons of rainwater annually. That is, 4 million trees would save $14 million in annual stormwater runoff costs.
If the city is removing a street tree:
- Find out why the tree is being removed. Many cities post information regarding tree removals online, as well as dates for public hearings.
- Be aware that sometimes trees need to be removed. They may be dead, damaged, or diseased trees. They may pose a serious safety hazard. The wrong species may have been planted, or the tree may have been planted in an inappropriate location.
- Check local municipal code for any tree protection ordinances. Ensure that appropriate municipal codes are being followed. Most codes can be found on your city’s website or check here.
- Contact the city department responsible for removal. Call your local division of urban forestry for information about street tree removal. You can also write a letter of objection to your city forester.Get a list of state urban and community foresters.
- Contact your City Council representatives. It is their job to help you communicate with the city and represent your interests. Explain your concerns and reasoning, and be persistent.
- Talk with your neighbors and inform them about any public hearings. They may not know about the tree removal and the benefits that will be lost. Urge them to contact elected officials and speak up. The more people expressing concern in the community, the better the chance of saving the tree.
- The facts are in your favor. Consult some of professionals documents and research on the benefits of trees to help make your case.
- Money talks. Determine the dollar value of the benefits provided by the tree in question using the National Tree Benefit Calculator.
- Start a petition. Include names and contact information of supporters to send to your City Arborist or City Council representative.
- Get the media on your side. Contact the press about the tree removal to help generate awareness and explain why this tree is important. A newspaper article, letter to the editor, blog post, or TV news story can go a long way.
If the tree must be removed, work with the city or a local nonprofit organization to ensure that another appropriate tree will be planted in the same area or nearby to replace it. Find a tree organization near you.
If your neighbor, landlord, or developer is cutting down a tree on private property:
- Talk with the property owner to find out the reason for the removal. If the reason is aesthetic, share your concerns and information on the benefits of trees. If they believe the tree poses a hazard of some sort, see if you can compromise or help find a feasible solution to keep the tree.
- Rally support from neighbors. The collective voice of many neighbors may encourage the property owner to preserve the tree. This may be especially helpful in apartment complexes. A strong response from residents may help convince a building manager or owner to preserve trees.
- Private trees of a certain species or size may be protected by city law. Check your city’s municipal code for ordinances related to tree protection. If a tree is protected, inform the person planning to remove the tree, as they may not know about the law. If the ordinance is being violated, you can also call the City Arborist for assistance. There may be fines and replacement requirements for removing protected trees. Ensure enforcement of any law.
- Consult a professional. Homeowners may want to remove a tree because they believe it is poses a hazard or will cause damage to a structure. You can hire an arborist or other tree care professional to assess the situation. They can often find a way to mitigate hazards and save the tree. Keep in mind that there will likely be a fee for the consultation. Find a qualified arborist here or here.
- If the tree is cut down, consider working with your neighbor or landlord to plant a new tree.Evaluate the site to determine if another appropriate tree can be planted in the same location or nearby.