While listening to a certain streaming radio app, I heard an advertisement (I usually hate ads) that excited me. Missouri Department of Conservation is buying up airtime to promote…well…trees. With a simplistic slogan “Trees Work” they list dozens of examples of how planting trees can be beneficial to you and your community. I was in the field trimming trees when I first heard the ad, and after I gave a celebratory ‘fist-pump,’ I thought, “Sweet, this is good for business. The government is promoting the trees that I am currently trimming.” After hearing a few more ads on this certain streaming radio app I became curious about all the ways ‘Trees Work’ and logged onto MDC’s website. Here’s what I found.
Trees Work For Your Wallet
- Shade from two large trees on the west side of a house and one on the east side can save up to 30% of a typical residence's annual air conditioning costs.
- Neighborhoods with well-shaded streets can be up to 10°F cooler than neighborhoods without street trees.
- Trees properly placed around buildings as windbreaks can save up to 25% on winter heating costs.
- For every 10% increase in forest cover in a watershed, costs to clean drinking water decreases by approximately 20%.
- The presence of street trees in a neighborhood increase the sale prices of houses by an average of $8,870
Trees Work For Your Health
- Views of nature assist at the workplace. Employees with views of nature report 15% fewer illnesses and feel more enthusiastic and less frustrated than those without a view outside.
- Hospital patients recovering from surgery who had a view of a grove of trees through their windows required fewer pain relievers and left the hospital a day sooner than similar patients who had a view of a brick wall.
- Those who commute along tree lined roads remain calmer (lower pulse and blood pressure) and drive less aggressively than those who drive along less treed roads.
- Park users report urban forests and parks offer a place for reflective thought, resting the mind, and creative thinking even better than their homes.
- Tree-lined streets are more walkable, encouraging more active lifestyles which decreases obesity and improves heart health.
- Trees reduce noise. Planting tall trees can reduce loudness by 50 percent.
Trees Work For Your Family
- ADD symptoms in children are relieved after spending time in a treed area. Kids are better able to concentrate, complete tasks, and follow directions after playing in natural settings.
- A 10% increase in trees in a neighborhood reduces crime by 12%.
- Parents who lived in areas with trees and greenery report committing fewer aggressive acts against their family.
- Girls with a home view of trees and greenery score higher on tests of concentration and self discipline.
- College students with more natural views from their dorm windows score higher on tests.
- Tree along streets promote physical activity in children and increase longevity of the elderly.
- Contact with nature helps children to develop imagination and creativity, intellectual development and social relationships.
- People who take a walk in nature concentrate better afterwards than those who practice relaxation techniques indoors.
- One of the most effective means of protecting children from ultraviolet radiation is to plant shade trees where they play.
Trees Work For Your Community
- Trees contribute positively to downtown shopping areas. People are willing to spend 12% more for goods and services in downtowns with trees. They’ll also spend more time shopping and come back more frequently.
- Using the police department’s crime reports to study crime rates around areas with trees and lawns as compared to more barren landscaping, research has found that green areas have a staggering HALF as many crimes as areas with no trees or grass. People also report feeling safer in communities surrounded with trees.
- People tend to be more familiar and socialize more with neighbors in neighborhoods with trees. People also tend to feel more satisfied where they live if their homes are surrounded by trees.
- People in housing surrounded by trees report that their life issues feel less difficult, they procrastinate less, and have higher attention spans.
Trees Work For Our Environment
- 100 mature tree intercept about 100,000 gallons of rainfall per year, reducing runoff and providing cleaner water.
- The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
- Modest increases of 10% canopy cover in the New York City Area were shown to reduce peak ozone levels by 37% of the amount by which the area exceeded its air quality standard. Similar results were found in Los Angeles and along the East Coast from Baltimore to Boston.
- Missouri’s forests store more than 5 million tons of carbon.
- Trees and forests are renewable resources when managed properly. As trees are harvested, new trees quickly emerge and fill in the gaps left behind.
- Each year, an acre of forest captures between 1 and 4 tons of additional carbon.
- For each pound of new wood that grows, the tree removes about 1.8 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air and produces 1.3 pounds of oxygen.
Trees Work For Our Economy
- Through the production of wood products, Missouri’s forest product industry contributes $8 billion to the state’s economy annually, supports 42,000 jobs and generates $600 million in taxes.
- Trees along streets in Missouri’s communities provide $148 million annually in benefits, including energy savings, increase in property value, and stormwater retention.
Some of these statistics seem a little far-fetched in my opinion, but a good majority of them ring true to me. In this day and age of ‘going green’ sometimes the simplest act of planting trees can be the best solution to our problems. So go to your local garden center if you want to: lower your electric bill, think more clearly, or have a safer neighborhood. Trees Work.