1. Alleviating the “Greenhouse Effect,” trees act as carbon “sinks.”
- One acre of new forest will sequester about 2.5 tons of carbon annually. Trees can absorb CO2 at the rate of 13 pounds/tree/year. Trees reach their most productive stage of carbon storage at about 10 years.
- In its “Reforesting the Earth” paper, the Worldwatch Institute estimated that our planet needs at least 321 mil- lion acres planted to trees
- just to restore and maintain the productivity of soil and water resources, meet industrial and fuel-wood needs in the third world, and annually remove from the atmosphere roughly 780 million tons of carbon as the trees grow. This 780 million tons represents the removal of about 25 percent of the 2.9 billion tons of carbon currently going into the earth’s atmosphere.
- Planting 100 million trees could reduce the amount of carbon by an estimated 18 million tons per year and, at the same time, save American consumers $4 billion each year on utility bills.
- For every ton of new wood that grows, about 1.5 tons of CO2 are removed from the air, and 1.07 tons of life-giving oxygen is produced. During a 50-year life span, one tree will generate $30,000 in oxygen, recycle $35,000 worth of water, and clean up $60,000 worth of air pollution—or $125,000 total per tree without including any other values!
2. Prevents or reduces soil erosion and water pollution.
3. Helps recharge ground water and sustain stream flow.
4. Properly placed screens of trees and shrubs significantly decrease noise pollution along busy
thoroughfares and intersections. 5. Screen unsightly views.
6. Soften harsh outlines of buildings.
7. Depending on location, species, size, and condition, shade from trees can reduce utility bills for air conditioning in residential and commercial buildings by 15–50 percent. Trees, through their shade and transpiration, provide natural “low-tech” cooling that means less need to build additional dams, power plants, and nuclear generators.
8. Windbreaks around homes can be shields against wind and snow, and heating
costs can be reduced by as much as 30 percent.
9. Shade from trees cools hot streets and parking lots. Cities are “heat islands” that are 5–9 degrees hotter than surrounding areas. And cities spread each year.
10. Trees and shrubs properly placed and cared for on a residential or commercial lot can significantly increase property values.
11. Trees also provide nutmeats (walnuts, pecans, and hickory), fruit (plum, peaches, apples, and pears), berries for jams and jellies (chokeberry and buffalo berry) and maple syrup.
12. Trees add beauty and grace to any community setting. They make life more enjoyable, peaceful, relaxing, and offer a rich inheritance for future generations.
13. Trees give people a multitude of recreational opportunities and provide habitat for wildlife.
14. Trees along rivers, streams, and lakes reduce water temperatures by their shade, prevent or reduce bank erosion and silt, and provide hiding places for improving fisheries habitat.
15. They provide brilliant colors to landscapes in the fall. After the leaves drop to the ground and are raked, they provide excellent mulch for flowerbeds and gardens as well as exercise for people.
16. Police officers believe that trees and landscaping can instill community pride and help cool tempers that sometimes erupt during “long, hot summers.”
17. Trees are valuable as commemoratives of deceased loved ones and for passing on something of value to future generations.
18. Finally, many people enjoy planting and caring for trees simply because they like to see them grow.
Sources: Glenn Roloff USDA Forest Service – Northern Region Missoula, Montana