The benefits of trees

bioOur trees provide important environmental benefits, which in turn affects our health and wellbeing. These benefits include:

  • Increase biodiversity – A variety of trees provides a range of food and habitat, for a myriad of microorganisms that live around the roots in the soil, insects living under bark, birds, lizards and small mammals living in tree hollows and within the canopy.
  • Carbon sequestration –Trees can absorb CO2 which will help reduce the amounts contributing to climate change.
  • Provide shade – Residents walk more on streets with trees as they shade our walkways in summer and provide protection from the rain in winter. Shade from trees can reduce local temperatures reducing household energy consumption for cooling. By shading heat-absorbing surfaces such as bitumen and masonry, trees reduce the heat island effect that leads to higher urban temperatures.
  • Improve air quality – Trees intercept and filter harmful gases and airborne particle pollution, such as from car fumes, and improve air quality and our health by producing oxygen through photosynthesis.
  • Protect our water – The tree canopy captures rainwater, water is absorbed into the tree, and can be returned to the air through transpiration. Some of this water will also percolate through the soil and return to the water table. Tree roots also keep soil porous so that surface water can be easily absorbed. The roots of trees also prevent soil erosion, keeping sediment out of our water ways.

Other benefits to our community include:

  • Reduce energy use – A shaded home needs less air conditioning, and less heating is needed in homes that have wind breaks. Reduced energy consumption has environmental benefits of saving fossil fuels and reducing pollution, as well as economic benefits which means direct cost savings to residents.
  • Reduce drainage infrastructure – Trees capture up to 60% of rainfall, reducing surface water runoff entering our drainage systems, reducing flooding potential. About 30% of rainfall is absorbed by the canopy and the moisture never hits the ground, another 30% of rainfall is absorbed back into the ground and taken up by the root structure of the tree.
  • Traffic calming – Research has shown that traffic moves more slowly on street lined with trees.
  • Create a sense of place – Trees contribute to our communities’ character; provide seasonal interest, a link to nature and a source of delight.
  • Visually appealing – Trees provide seasonal interest and natural beauty through their interesting colours, shapes and textures of bark, foliage, canopy, flowers and fruit.
  • Enhance liveability – Trees create wind breaks along foreshore and in dense urban areas. They reduce the impact of traffic noise, screening unwanted views and reduce glare.

Tree_diagram

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