We are all aware of the common benefits such as beauty, shade, wildlife habitat, and oxygen production that trees provide us, but did you know that trees:
Two healthy trees can produce enough oxygen (through a process called photosynthesis) needed by a person each year (about 400 lbs). Trees also absorb 120-240 lbs of air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide produced by automobiles, power plants, and factories. Trees sequester carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) from the air, converting and storing it in the form of wood. A healthy tree can use about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. For every ton of wood produced, about 1.8 tons of carbon dioxide is removed from the air. A large tree will store the same amount of carbon dioxide as is released by three cars driven 15,000 miles. Also, as trees cool the surrounding environment they reduce smog levels and ozone pollutions by up to 6%. Recent USDA Forest Service research estimates that Philadelphia’s urban forest air pollution removal is valued at $4.8 Million for 1 year.
A 25 foot tree reduces annual heating and cooling costs of a typical residence by 8 to 12 percent. While asphalt paving, and concrete building and walkways reflect heat causing “heat islands”, a mature tree canopy reduces air temperatures by about 5-10 degrees F, influencing the internal temperatures and air conditioning needs of nearby buildings. The net cooling effect of a healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day
The canopy of a tree absorbs and intercepts rain, reducing the amount of water that will fall on pavement and then must be removed by a stormwater drainage systems. Reducing the amount of stormwater with tree canopies can mean reductions in stormwater management costs (smaller and fewer pipes). As stormwater falls on paved surfaces such as roadways and parking lots, they wash oils, metals, salts and other chemicals into nearby streams and rivers. By intercepting stormwater with tree canopies, these non-point source pollutants are reduced in our streams. Flash flooding can also be reduced if a community has good tree canopy cover that slows down rainfall that would otherwise runoff paved surfaces to nearby streams and rivers.
For more in-depth information about how trees are helping our lives and caring for us visit the following websites:
Trees Pay Us Back is an excellent site developed by the USDA Forest Service
USDA Forest Service Center for Urban Forest Research has provided reliable scientific evidence that the benefits of urban forests add real value to communities since 1992.
Tree Link is a website with a great deal of information about the benefits of trees.
National Tree Benefits Calculator will help you calculate the many benefits that your tree is providing you and your home or business.
PennScapes explores the role trees play in designing Pennsylvania communities.
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