Facts About Trees #3
As we replan and improve streets we must make provisions for the inclusion of trees. Here are several more facts about the benefits of tree in the urban environment. They come from Friends of the Trees and Dan Burden’s Walkable Communities.
Trees clean our water by filtering storm runoff and preventing soil erosion. The National Research Council, in its “Oil in the Sea Report,” found that “every 8 months runoff from roads and parking lots carries as much oil into the oceans as the Exxon Valdez oil spill-10.9 million gallons. A study in Portand, Oregon found that trees in the city “intercepted half a billion gallons of storm water to save more than $11 million in stormwater management costs.” A study conducted by the Center for Urban Forest Research at Davis, California found that for every 1000 trees planted over million dollars are saved in storm water management cost and pollution abatement. So not only do trees improve the city environment but they improve the environment of other species as well.
Trees save us money in other ways. A tree’s shade can reduce a buildings temperature 20 degrees in the summer, significantly reducing heating and cooling costs and thus emissions. As posted earlier, Pacific Gas and Electric is funding the planting of trees at customer’s homes to reduce energy demand. And trees make us money by increasing the value of a property. Depending on the size, number, and type of tree, a homes value may be increased up to 21 percent.
The most important benefit trees provide in an artificial environment is a connection to nature. The noise of the street is reduce and instead filled with birdsong and the chattering of squirrels. Walking safely along in the dappled shade, the street then is now an opportunity for the body to relax and mind to wander. You can look up and imagine that you were strolling in a forest and are thankful for the shady chill you get as you pass through and eagerly anticipate an upcoming cup of warm coffee. Could you imagine a romantic date without pausing to think about a shady patio area in which to sip wine, or a tree lined street to stroll along, arms entwined, perhaps pausing to kiss under a tree? Trees create the environment of the street, an environment that like many other habitats is under threat.