19 Reasons to Celebrate Trees This Arbor Day, and Every Day
7 minute read
Trees do an extraordinary job of protecting us and keeping us healthy. While most people encounter a tree every day in some manner, few stop to really appreciate them and recognize the benefits.
From making an area more aesthetically pleasing to lowering crime, trees can be associated with some pretty remarkable things. As soon as a tree is planted, it begins a process of change that can include all of the following benefits and more.
1. Air Purifier
Trees absorb nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, and ozone, and they filter out particles making the air we breathe purer.
2. Oxygen Production
Trees use energy from sunlight to make glucose from carbon dioxide and water and, in doing so, they release oxygen. Trees release more oxygen than they use, creating a surplus. The math on how much oxygen is produced by trees and how much is needed by people suggests that, on average, one person needs the oxygen produced by seven or eight trees each year.
3. Fight Climate Change
This is a herculean task, but trees are doing their part to combat climate change. One reason for climate change is the buildup of CO2. Trees absorb CO2, keep the carbon, and release the clean oxygen.
4. Regulate Temperature
There is a cooling effect of trees called evapotranspiration that absorbs heat and releases moisture which, cools in two ways: it absorbs some radiation that would otherwise reach the ground, and it releases cool air and moisture. It’s estimated that shade from trees can reduce temperatures by 6-10 degrees cooler.
5. Conserve Water
Shade protects the ground from evaporation and slows the process so the earth can absorb that water. Also, trees release moisture into the air as they draw it up through their roots and out their leaves.
6. Save Energy
Trees planted strategically around a home can cut air conditioning costs by blocking the sun’s rays and keeping the house cool. Less air conditioning means less energy is used and we reduce our pollution emissions from our homes and power plants.
7. Natural Windbreak
A designated tree windbreak can not only protect a home from wind damage, but it can also reduce heating costs 10-15% and cut cooling costs as well.
8. Prevent Erosion
The strong roots of trees do a great job of holding soil in place, slowing runoff.
9. Purify Water
As rainwater and runoff hit the ground, trees pull water into their roots and the surrounding soil where pollutants are filtered out, restoring fresh groundwater supplies.
10. UV Protection
By providing shade, trees block dangerous UV-B rays by up to 50%.
Many fruit and nut trees provide food for people, birds, and animals. One apple tree can yield as much as 15-20 bushels of fruit per year.
There is a calming effect for people who are around trees and nature. This is not only good for emotional and mental health, but it can also speed recovery in people with physical conditions.
An article on hospital landscaping delved more deeply into this area and found that almost 97% of the patients interviewed wanted to see greenery around the hospital, 76.7% of the patients reported improved mental health from being exposed to landscaping, and 62.5% reported faster recovery from illness.
13. Less Crime
A study was done on the effect that trees had on crime in one city. The results found that well-placed trees seem to be a deterrent to crime, especially larger, well-established trees. The downfall was in areas where the trees were smaller and view-obstructing, giving potential criminals a hiding place.
14. Economic Opportunities
Whether it’s food harvested from trees, a landscaping business, a Christmas tree farm, or other opportunities, there are many ways that trees can help an economy thrive and provide an opportunity for a potential business venture.
15. Business Traffic
Planting more trees in a business district means more business. A tree-lined street encourages traffic to slow down and take note of their surroundings.
16. Property Values Rise
Homes that are landscaped are valued up to 20% higher than homes that are not.
17. Wildlife Support
Trees provide a canopy and habitat for many different species of animals, birds, bugs, and more. Not only that, but they are often also a food source for wildlife. The benefits humans receive from different types of wildlife are enormous.
18. Workplace Productivity
The Herschong Mahone Group conducted a field study looking at office workers and productivity and how that was affected by having a view of trees and landscaping. Having a better view during break time consistently presented with a 6-7% faster performance. In addition, having a better office view during the workday produced another 6% faster performance improvement.
19. Stress Reliever
Feeling stressed? Just looking at a tree can reduce your level of stress. An article in Science Alert outlines several studies that show a direct correlation between looking at trees and nature and decreased stress levels.
The Bottom Line
The next time you pass by a tree, stop to examine it, or at least to appreciate all it does for you, your environment and the community in which you live.
Each tree helps purify the air you need to survive. Trees make the area more aesthetically pleasing, they inspire productive behavior, and contribute to elevated moods. They also encourage healing and a sense of community. Some trees are providers of food for humans as well as the wildlife we share this planet with.
Trees give more to us than we do to them and yet, we often overlook their significance. Planting a tree is a very positive way that you can impact your life and the lives of those around you. If you can’t plant a tree, the very least you can do is take time to appreciate one.