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8 Surprising Ways Trees Work For Us … and they ask for so little in return.

“I never saw a discontented tree.” ― John Muir 

Trees work hard. From taking the heat to covering the street, from helping our health to growing our wealth, entering a tree-lationship can be good for you – and your city – in more ways than one. So, if you take care of your trees, they’ll really take care of you! 

Here are eight research-backed ways to prove that trees are excellent neighbors.  

  1. They fight crime. Research1 indicates that a 10% increase in tree canopy can be associated with a roughly 12% decrease in crimes such as robbery, burglary, theft and shootings. 
  1. They keep us cool. Trees can cool cities by up to 10 degrees, fighting off the heat island effect and preventing heat-related illnesses in urban areas like Denver. This comes from cooling and evaporation,2 not just shade.  
  1. They save us money. Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs up to 30% and can save 20–50% in energy used for heating. By providing protection from the sun and wind, trees can reduce energy costs by as much as 30%. Urban tree cover supplies heat-reduction services worth $5.3–12.1 billion annually.3 
  1. They might make us feel better. Research has shown that spending time around trees and nature can reduce depression and anxiety. One study4 suggests that unintentional daily contact with nature through street trees close to the home may reduce the risk of depression, especially for individuals in under-resourced communities. 
  1. They help us breathe. One large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to four people!  
  1. They keep us healthy. In some cases, just seeing trees does the trick! Often cited as one of the earliest studies5 of the possible relationship between access to greenspace and health: surgery patients with windows overlooking natural views had shorter postoperative hospital stays!  
  1. They even clean our air! In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced by a car driven 26,000 miles.  
  1. They can make us money. Every dollar spent planting and caring for a community tree, yields benefits that are 2X to 5X that investment! Healthy trees can boost your property’s value by 5 to 20%.  

 Because as the Lorax, who spoke for the trees, once said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better. It’s not.”  

  1. Troy et al. 2012   
  2. Rahman et al. 2020 
  3. McDonald et al. 2020 
  4. Marselle et al. 2020 
  5. Ulrich 1984 

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