URBAN FOREST BENEFITS
An urban forest consists of the trees in a city's parks, private properties, nature preserves, wetlands, streets, and open spaces. Urban forests are measured by their canopy, which is the area covered by a tree's branches and leaves when viewed from above. Urban canopy is measured though aerial surveys and expressed as a percentage. In 2014, the city of San Diego found the urban canopy coverage within the city limits was 13%.
Click on the boxes below to learn more about some of the environmental and community benefits that urban forests provide.
Mature trees intercept rainfall, reducing runoff and providing cleaner water. Thanks to this benefit, heavy metals and other pollutants from roads, parking lots, and roofs are not carried into our water supply.
Trees provide shelter and food for a variety of birds and small animals. They interact with other living things in sharing and recycling resources.
Trees use carbon dioxide when they grow, removing it from the air.
Residents who live near urban trees have better relations and stronger ties to their neighbors. In addition, tree planting programs teach local stakeholders about their local environment!
A treed environment can reduce blood pressure, increase patient recovery time, and reduce stress.
Tree roots hold soil in place reducing erosion and runoff. Nearly 11,000 tons of soil are saved annually with tree cover in a medium-sized city.
A tree shading a home air conditioner has been estimated to improve its efficiency by 10%. Evaporation from tree leaves cools the air resulting in further reduction of summer air conditioning costs.
Recreation areas with lush urban forests such as parks, greenways, and river corridors attract newcomers and provide areas of play.
One acre of trees generates enough oxygen each day for 18 people to breathe. Trees absorb gaseous pollutants and filter particulates on and through their leaves, stems, and twigs. Trees also lower local air temperatures by transpiring water, shading surfaces and reducing cooling costs.
The value of houses on lots with trees is often higher than those of comparable houses on lots without trees. Each large front yard tree adds 1% to the sale price. These homes rent more quickly, have higher occupancy rates, and provide privacy for residents.
Trees provide “white noise," the noise of the leaves and branches in the wind and associated natural sounds, that mask other man-caused sounds.
Patrons linger longer and make more frequent trips to venues along tree-shaded avenues. Businesses leasing office space in wooded developments find their workers are more productive!