Benefits of Trees
Benefits of Trees
Trees create jobs, provide flowers, fruit, fodder and fuel to communities and living creatures, offer shade to nomads and their livestock, give shelter to birds and animals, prevent soil erosion and flooding, improve water catchment, generate oxygen, reduce pollution and benefit posterity while decarbonising the atmosphere.
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- BIOMASS FOR COOKING FUEL: In the Panchmahal district (the location of our first planting program), a study found that the villagers would have to spend 40% of their cash income on cooking fuel alone if they did not get twigs and branches from trees.
- RURAL JOBS: Grow-Trees.com is creating rural jobs, in remote areas where jobs are rare, in the nursery, planting and post-planting activities, amongst tribals and scheduled caste women (see photos on our website). For every 20,000 trees planted by Grow-Trees.com, between 1,500 and 1,800 workdays of jobs are created in the nursery and planting activities alone! According to the U.S.Forest Service, recreational-visitor spending in National Forests amounted to nearly $11 billion in 2012, sustaining about 190,000 jobs.
- ECONOMIC VALUE: Indian Biologist, Vol XI No 1-2, 1979, estimated the value of a medium-size tree, without the value of its timber or fruits and flowers, in 1979 at Rs 1.55 million!! Production of Oxygen Rs 250,000; Humidity Control & Recycling of Water Rs 300,000; Air Pollution Control Rs 500,000; Controlling Soil Erosion and Fertility Rs 250,000; Sheltering Birds, Squirrels, Insects & Plants Rs 250,000. (From Nature Interpretation Center, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve)
- IMPROVING FISHERY REVENUES: Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego, found that mangroves demonstrably boost fishery yields by an average of about $37,500 per year per hectare.
- AIR/WATER IMPROVEMENT: The United States Department of Agriculture's Forest Service estimates that over a 50-year span, a tree generates $ 162,000 in benefits - $31,250 worth of oxygen, $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion. Tree roots remove nutrients harmful to water ecology and quality - American Forests, “How Trees Fight Climate Change”, 1999. The economic value of a tree in terms of its oxygen production is Rs 2.372 million per year (NGO Delhi Greens, Times of India, Aug 20, 2013)
- OXYGEN GENERATION - A typical person consumes about 386 lb of oxygen per year. A healthy tree, say a 32 ft tall ash tree, can produce about 260 lb of oxygen annually — two trees supply the oxygen needs of a person each year! - Center for Urban Horticulture, University of Washington. One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. - U.S. Department of Agriculture. There is no known non-biological process that can produce oxygen from common materials in sufficient quantity like photosynthesis - The Economist, June 9-16, 2012.
- DECARBONISING THE ATMOSPHERE: Planting trees remains one of the cheapest, most effective means of drawing excess CO2 from the atmosphere. Prow, Tina., "The Power of Trees", Human Environmental Research Laboratory at University of Illinois. A tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds (22 kilograms) of carbon dioxide per year (www.EarthShare.org)
- REMOVING POLLUTANTS - Trees clean the air, remove dust and particulates, absorb ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants, through the stomates in the leaf surface. (International Society of Arboriculture Pamphlet, 1991). There is up to a 60% reduction in street level particulates with trees - Coder, Dr. Kim D., "Identified Benefits of Community Trees and Forests", University of Georgia, October 1996.
- COST-BENEFIT OF URBAN TREES - A 2005 study of municipal trees in Boulder, CO, estimated the city gets a $3.67 return on every dollar spent on the urban forest.* This arises from reducing storm water management costs; saving in waste water treatment; improving air quality; reducing energy requirement for cooling— Christian Science Monitor, Story by Ethan Gilsdorf, April 26, 2006 on “What is the Value of a Tree?”
- SOUND ABSORPTION, WINDBREAKS - Trees provide sound buffers and act as windbreaks in urban areas - Enviro News/Louisiana Gateway 2020, Spring/Summer 1993, Vol IV. A U.S. Department of Energy study reports that trees reduce noise pollution by acting as a buffer and absorbing 50% of urban noise.
- COOLING URBAN AREAS: A tree can be a natural air conditioner. The evaporation from a single large tree can produce the cooling effect of 10 room size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. (US Department of Agriculture pamphlet # FS-363) . A mature tree canopy reduces air temperatures by about 5 to 10° F, influencing the internal temperatures of nearby buildings. — Center for Urban Horticulture, University of Washington. Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save 20-50 percent in energy used for heating. — USDA Forest Service
- AIR CLEANSING: Cooler air temperatures created by tree canopies reduce smog levels by up to 6%. A mature tree absorbs from 120 to 240 lbs of the small particles and gases of air pollution. — Center for Urban Horticulture, University of Washington.
- CLEAN WATER: Trees act as natural pollution filters for water. Their canopies, trunks, roots, and associated soil and other natural elements of the landscape filter polluted particulate matter out ofhe flow, reducing the amount of pollution that is washed into a drainage area. Trees use nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium which can pollute streams. American Forests Magazine, "Trees Tackle Clean Water Regulations", Summer 2000. The forests of upstate New York do such a good job of filtering water that the city only needs to do a minimum of additional filtering. (www.EarthShare.org)
- RECHARGING GROUND WATER - Trees reduce runoff. A typical community forest of 10,000 trees will retain approximately 10 million gallons of rainwater per year - United States Forest Service Research.
- PREVENTING SOIL EROSION, REDUCING FLOODS - Canopies intercept rainfall, delay and reduce the impact of the drops falling onto the ground, thereby reducing runoff and avoiding soil erosion which leads to decrease in river capacity and to flooding,
- INCREASE VALUE OF HOUSE PROPERTY - Trees increase commercial and residential property values. In USA, homes on lots with many trees have 6% - 12% higher appraised values. "Trees can help increase the value of your property, sometimes by 10% - 20%", US Department of Agriculture pamphlet # FS-363
- MEDICINAL VALUE - One out of every four pharmaceutical products used in the US comes from tropical forest plants - USDA Forest Service Pamphlet # R1-92-100. A study in the Journal of Preventative Medicine found that people experienced more deaths from heart disease and respiratory disease when they lived in areas where trees had disappeared.
- PUBLIC HEALTH VALUE - social science research in USA showed that leafy public-housing projects experienced less violence than barren ones. "Hospital patients in Pennsylvania who recovered from surgery in a room with a view of a stand of trees needed less-potent pain medications and were released seven to nine days earlier than patients in rooms facing a brown brick wall." R Ulrich, "View Through a Window May Influence Recovery from Surgery", Science, vol. 224, no. 4647: pp 420-421 (1984), cited in "You are the Placebo" by Dr Joe Dispenza. Several studies have found that access to nature yields better cognitive functioning, more self-discipline, and greater mental health overall. (www.EarthShare.org)
- SOCIOLOGICAL BENEFITS - Two University of Illinois researchers (Kuo and Sullivan) studied how well residents of the Chicago Robert Taylor Housing Project (the largest public housing development in the world) were doing in their daily lives based upon the amount of contact they had with trees, and concluded that trees can reduce social service budgets, decrease police calls for domestic violence, strengthen urban communities, and decrease the incidence of child abuse according to the study. Chicago city government spent $10 million to plant 20,000 trees, a decision influenced by Kuo’s and Sullivan’s research, according to the Chicago Tribune.
- ECONOMIC ACTIVITY - Studies in USA show that shopping destinations with trees had more customers than those that didn't. "Shoppers are willing to pay about 10% higher prices for products in a shopping area with trees, as opposed to a comparable shopping district without trees", K. Wolfe (2003). Public response to the Urban Forest in Inner-City Business Districts. Journal of Arboriculture, pages 29, 3, 117-26 . Businesses leasing office spaces in developments with trees find their workers are more productive and absenteeism is reduced - Michigan State University Extension, Urban Forestry #07269501, “Benefits of Urban Trees”
- URBAN FORESTS SAVE COSTS - The asphalt paving on streets contain stone aggregate in an oil binder. Without tree shade, the oil heats up and volatizes, leaving the aggregate unprotected. Because the oil does not dry out as fast on a shaded street as it does on a street with no shade trees, this street maintenance can be deferred from every 10 years to every 20-25 years for older streets with extensive tree canopy cover - Tree Guidelines for San Joaquin Valley Communities, March 1999, USDA Forest Service.
- BENEFITS OF RIVERSIDE TREES: Riparian (riverside) trees reduce soil erosion from raindrops and runoff, slow floodwaters, filter runoff and sediment from slopes next to the stream, increase groundwater supply, provide shade so water animals can survive. Fish require healthy riparian areas and will sometimes die without them, and trees provide habitats for animals such as beavers and otters - trees support the incredible variety of living things on the planet, known as biodiversity. By protecting trees, we also save all the other plants and animals they shelter. USDA pamphlet # FS-445, January 1990
- TREES FOR WILDLIFE - Trees support the lives of many large organisms. Trees are used for food, shelter, and as sites for reproduction. Many animals also use trees for resting, nesting and for places from which to hunt or capture prey. During times of extreme heat or precipitation, animals seek shade and shelter under the trees without being away from their food source; the shade helps them regulate their body temperatures.