They are a part of our natural global environment, are used to build the very buildings that we live in, and we even write with, eat food from, sit on, and read from products that are made from them. Because trees are so important, there are many reasons why we should plant more of them.
- Trees hold soil in place. Tree roots grow deep into the soil, holding it firmly in place, and help to prevent soil erosion, especially when growing on hillsides and other steep terrain.
- Trees sequester carbon dioxide. As most of us learned in school, trees and other green plants take in carbon dioxide that humans and other organisms produce. Without trees, the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere would be even higher than they are now.
- Trees produce oxygen. Through photosynthesis, trees produce oxygen that humans and many other organisms depend on to live.
- Trees provide important habitat for wildlife and are fundamental to many ecosystems on Earth. Some animals live their entire lives in trees, and some, such as the Northern Spotted Owl in Washington State in the United States, cannot survive without old growth forests.
- A vibrant urban forest is especially important for cities. A healthy urban forest is one of the more important factors in the establishment of livable cities, by bringing nature into an artificial and human-constructed city environment. Children can learn about nature within the city environment just by being around trees and observing and interacting with them.
Even just a view of trees in cities can help to reduce stress and anxiety, and improve the overall well-being of an urban population. It has been found that having green spaces with trees in cities helps to reduce crime rates by approximately 50%¹.
- Trees increase property values. It is well-known that when a home has mature trees growing on the property, it will sell for 7 to 19% more than if there were no trees planted there².
- Trees help to save energy. Planted strategically, trees on a property near homes and other buildings can help to block wind and create shade. This helps to reduce the need for heating in the winter, and the need for cooling in the summer.
- Trees are important for physical and mental wellness. A view of trees and green spaces from hospital windows has been found to increase the healing of patients, decrease our stress, and children do much better in school when they have a view of trees and greenspace and can spend time playing in nature.
- You can grow your own fruit or nuts in your backyard. By planting fruit or nut trees in your yard, you can produce abundant food for yourself and your family, and perhaps even enough to share with friends, neighbors, other family members, and others in your community.
- Trees create a sense of place. Trees can give a place unique character and beauty that can can only be found in that specific place.
- Trees are an investment for our communities and for future generations. When we plant trees, we are giving a gift to the environment and to our communities. Since many species of trees can live for hundreds of years or more, our “investment” tree planting may perhaps last far beyond our own lifetimes.
- Trees help to slow stormwater runoff. Trees can help to intercept water running off of impervious pavement toward rivers and streams, protect streambanks, help to reduce flash flooding, and can help to recharge underground aquifers. Trees that live in wetlands and along rivers are well adapted to cycles of flooding and other periods of high water levels.
- Trees help to maintain local water cycles. Trees play a very important role in maintenance of local water cycles. Trees hold water, prevent flooding, recharge underground aquifers, and maintain water vapor in the atmosphere, increasing the opportunity for rainfall. When forests are cut down, the water vapor in the atmosphere disappears in an area, decreasing precipitation and increasing the risk of drought and desertification³. By planting trees, some of these negative effects may be reversed⁴.
- Trees help to buffer storms. Along coastlines, Mangrove forest trees are adapted to harsh coastal storms and help to protect areas inland from storm surges and harsh winds. When these forests are removed from coastlines, this important protection disappears. Trees in other habitats also help to reduce windy conditions during storms.
- Trees produce products for our use. Trees produce many important products that we use in our daily lives, including wood, medicine, and food. For example, the Moringa tree is considered to be a superfood and super herb, with all parts of the tree being useful for food or medicine, and the seeds are even used in some developing countries for water purification.
Other useful products from trees include cinnamon made from the bark of the Cinnamon Tree, using Willow bark as a form of natural aspirin, cinnamon made from the bark of the cinnamon tree, and using the technique of coppicing trees to obtain woody materials without killing the trees.
- Trees are beautiful. Planting trees is a great way to add a touch of beautiful nature to your property and improve the aesthetics of a place.
- Trees clean the soil. Trees can store some pollutants and can transform others into less toxic forms. Trees have been known to be useful for filtering sewage and chemicals from farms, filter water runoff into rivers and streams, cleanup heavy metal pollution and organic pollutants, and help to clean up animal waste in water and roadside spills⁵.
- Trees help control noise. Trees help to absorb loud noises in the air, especially in an urban environment. When planted strategically around a property, trees can even help to reduce loud urban noises from freeways and airports.
- Trees clean the air. Trees intercept air pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and particulate matter⁶.
- Trees help to attract customers to businesses. It has been found that when given a choice, customers prefer to patronize businesses that have trees in front of the building over those businesses that do not have them in front⁷.