A healthy, diverse, and plentiful tree canopy provides many benefits to our communities and to our region. Trees and forest canopy have the ability to:
Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30% and can save 25-30% in energy used for heating, according to the USDA Forest Service. filter air pollutants. Our tree canopy filters air pollution which improves overall air quality. Air quality affects asthma, allergies, and other health conditions. There is evidence that higher numbers of trees in urban neighborhoods correlate to lower levels of asthma. “Why Trees Matter,” Jim Robbins, New York Times, April 11, 2012.
Reduce Stormwater Runoff:
A mature shade tree can hold over 100 gallons of rainwater on its leaf and branch surface. Forest cover can intercept up to 50% of a rain event. As cited by the Green Umbrella’s 2005 The Economic Case for Preserving Greenspace report, a ten percent reduction in the region’s forest greenspace would cost at least $10 million for equivalent storm sewer capacity and add nearly $600,000 per year in drinking water expenses (2005 calculations).
Stabilize Slopes and Streambanks:
Root systems of mature trees hold soil in place on hillsides and along streambanks that would otherwise erode. Many soils in our region are prone to slippage, particularly during wet seasons. Trees provide our region significant protection against landslides and water pollution.
A healthy and diverse forest provides food and habitat for our native wildlife. Loss of tree canopy increases expenditures for protecting, enhancing, and restoring wildlife habitat. This also has an impact on our region by reducing opportunities for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation activities.
Increase our Property Value:
Less attractive developed area and altered landscapes affect property values, community aesthetics, and even incidence of crime. According to the USDA Forest Service research, healthy, mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value.