There are many reasons to plant and
protect trees, but most of them fall into one of three categories:
beauty, nature and commerce. Obviously, trees are pretty-they sooth
us, shelter us and inspire awful poetry. They are also an essential
part of a healthy environment. Absorbing carbon dioxide and
producing oxygen, recharging groundwater, protecting against erosion
and providing wildlife habitat are just a few of the purposes trees
The practical advantages of trees
range from producing food and fuel to making retail and residential
spaces more inviting. Healthy, mature trees can add up to 10 percent
to a property's value.
We like trees around us because they make life more
pleasant. Most of us respond to the presence of trees beyond simply
observing their beauty. We feel serene, peaceful, restful, and
tranquil in a grove of trees. We are "at home" there. Hospital
patients have been shown to recover from surgery more quickly when
their hospital room offered a view of trees. The strong ties between
people and trees are most evident in the resistance of community
residents to removing trees to widen streets. Or we note the heroic
efforts of individuals and organizations to save particularly large
or historic trees in a community.
The stature, strength, and endurance of trees give
them a cathedral-like quality. Because of their potential for long
life, trees frequently are planted as living memorials. We often
become personally attached to trees that we or those we love have
Even though trees may be private property, their size
often makes them part of the community as well. Because trees occupy
considerable space, planning is required if both you and your
neighbors are to benefit. With proper selection and maintenance,
trees can enhance and function on one property without infringing on
the rights and privileges of neighbors.
City trees often serve several architectural and
engineering functions. They provide privacy, emphasize views, or
screen out objectionable views. They reduce glare and reflection.
They direct pedestrian traffic. They provide background to and
soften, complement, or enhance architecture.
Trees alter the environment in which we live by
moderating climate, improving air quality, conserving water, and
harboring wildlife. Climate control is obtained by moderating the
effects of sun, wind, and rain. Radiant energy from the sun is
absorbed or deflected by leaves on deciduous trees in the summer and
is only filtered by branches of deciduous trees in winter. We are
cooler when we stand in the shade of trees and are not exposed to
direct sunlight. In winter, we value the sun's radiant energy.
Therefore, we should plant only small or deciduous trees on the
south side of homes.
Wind speed and direction can be affected by trees. The
more compact the foliage on the tree or group of trees, the greater
the influence of the windbreak. The downward fall of rain, sleet,
and hail is initially absorbed or deflected by trees, which provides
some protection for people, pets, and buildings. Trees intercept
water, store some of it, and reduce storm runoff and the possibility
Dew and frost are less common under trees because less
radiant energy is released from the soil in those areas at night.
Temperature in the vicinity of trees is cooler than
that away from trees. The larger the tree, the greater the cooling.
By using trees in the cities, we are able to moderate the
heat-island effect caused by pavement and buildings in commercial
Air quality can be improved through the use of trees,
shrubs, and turf. Leaves filter the air we breathe by removing dust
and other particulates. Rain then washes the pollutants to the
ground. Leaves absorb carbon dioxide from the air to form
carbohydrates that are used in the plant's structure and function.
In this process, leaves also absorb other air pollutants-such as
ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide-and give off oxygen.
By planting trees and shrubs, we return to a more
natural, less artificial environment. Birds and other wildlife are
attracted to the area. The natural cycles of plant growth,
reproduction, and decomposition are again present, both above and
below ground. Natural harmony is restored to the urban environment.
Individual trees and shrubs have value, but the
variability of species, size, condition, and function makes
determining their economic value difficult. The economic benefits of
trees can be both direct and indirect. Direct economic benefits are
usually associated with energy costs. Air-conditioning costs are
lower in a tree-shaded home. Heating costs are reduced when a home
has a windbreak. Trees increase in value from the time they are
planted until they mature. Trees are a wise investment of funds
because landscaped homes are more valuable than nonlandscaped homes.
The savings in energy costs and the increase in property value
directly benefit each home owner.
The indirect economic benefits of trees are even
greater. These benefits are available to the community or region.
Lowered electricity bills are paid by customers when power companies
are able to use less water in their cooling towers, build fewer new
facilities to meet peak demands, use reduced amounts of fossil fuel
in their furnaces, and use fewer measures to control air pollution.
Communities also can save money if fewer facilities must be built to
control storm water in the region. To the individual, these savings
are small, but to the community, reductions in these expenses are
often in the thousands of dollars.
How Tree Planting Credits Are Used
When you purchase a Meadow Planting Credit, you are investing into your and your children's future. The money is used to assist farmers and landowners to plan, restore and impliment a Meadow Planting project. The benefits are numerous and the return on investment is priceless.