Benefits of the Urban Forest

WHY SHOULD CITIES INVEST IN THEIR URBAN FOREST? 

Trees are major capital assets in America’s cities and towns. Publicly owned trees are a part of a community’s infrastructure just like streets, sidewalks, sewers, public buildings and recreational facilities. Research reports from cities across the United States show average return of $2.00 in benefits provided by trees for every $1.00 invested in stewardship.

The urban canopy is an important resource for the health and well-being of our environment and society. Well placed trees:

Hold soil in place - preventing erosion

Absorb storm water that might otherwise pollute our waterways

Cleanse the air by producing oxygen, and removing contaminants

Absorb carbon dioxide, the largest greenhouse gas

Provide shade to cool streets and sidewalks

Reduce noise pollution

Provide a wildlife habitat

Urban trees provide economic values to communities, businesses, and homes:

 Urban trees can increase home values by 15 percent.

Shade trees lower indoor air temperatures in summer and reduce air conditioning bills.

Trees and shrubs prevent heat loss from winter winds and save nearly 23 percent in fuel use.

Trees enhance community economic stability by attracting businesses and tourists.

People shop longer and spend more in commercial districts with tree-lined streets.

Trees extend the life of asphalt paving on streets. Slurry seal can be deferred from every 10 years to every 20-25 years for older streets with good canopy cover.

Social benefits associated with urban forests include:

More pleasant environments for a wide range of activities

Improvements in the aesthetic environment (sights, sounds, smells)

Relief from stress (which can lead to improved physical health)

Enhanced feelings and moods and increased enjoyment of everyday life

A stronger feeling of connection between people and their neighborhood

Reduced rates of crime and domestic violence