Love those trees!

November 2, 2010

As most people hopefully know – other than the obvious need to curb our own greed and short term gains-philosophy,  the plant world is our greatest ally in combating our rapidly progressing climate change. Our planet’s forested areas act as giant sponges, absorbing pollution and carbon dioxide and, in return, supply us living creatures with oxygen. In addition, they support countless ecosystems, including a seemingly endless variety of species. In urban settings, parkland and green areas act as temperature regulators of a phenomenon commonly referred to as “the heat island effect”. (Which is the reason cities are always hotter than rural areas, as asphalt and concrete reflects the solar heat, as opposed to absorbs it.) In addition, medical research is highly dependent on an unbroken continuity of botanical diversity. I read somewhere that over 98% of new medicines stem from new discoveries in the plant world, which in itself is a startling statistic! So, it’s disturbing that even though we know that the current rate of depletion of the world’s forests will jeopardize the quality of our children’s (and our own!) future on this planet – we still, for the most part complacently, participate in the destructive process. It doesn’t matter if the forests are in Brazil or in Siberia – the changes will affect us all, regardless of where we live.

So, the reasons to love your trees are many. Whether environmental, medical, mental or monetary, their benefits are undeniable. Below is a random list of interesting facts I found regarding trees, starting with the latest one –  an article in today’s Oregonian – our local newspaper. The story indicates that there might be a relationship between the nearness to mature trees and healthy newborns. I have a hunch there is instant support for that idea in the quote from the Texas A&M University, directly below it. You can read more here:

http://www.oregonlive.com/health/index.ssf/2011/01/more_trees_in_a_city_bring_sur.html

  • “In laboratory research, visual exposure to settings with trees has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension.” (Dr. Roger S. Ulrich Texas A&M University)
  • “Just three trees, properly placed around a house, can save up to 30% of energy use.” (U.S. Forest Service Center for Urban Forest Research)
  • Trees or shrubs planted to shade air conditioners help cool a building more efficiently, using less electricity. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.” (U.S. Department of Energy)
  • Deciduous trees, planted on the south and west sides, will keep your house cool in the summer and let the sun warm your home in the winter, reducing energy use.” (U.S. Department of Energy)
  • “The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.” (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
  • “Landscaping can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 50 percent, by shading the windows and walls of a home.”  (American Public Power Association)
  • “If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3% less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12%.” (Dr. E. Greg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research)
  • “A mature tree can often have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000.” —(Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers)
  • “In one study, 83% of realtors believe that mature trees have a “strong or moderate impact” on the salability of homes listed for under $150,000; on homes over $250,000, this perception increases to 98%.” (Arbor National Mortgage & American Forests)
  • “Landscaping, especially with trees, can increase property values as much as 20 percent.” (Management Information Services/ICMA)
  • “One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.” (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
  • “There are about 60-to 200- million spaces along our city streets where trees could be planted. This translates to the potential to absorb 33 million more tons of CO2 every year, and saving $4 billion in energy costs.” (National Wildlife Federation)
  • “Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save 20 – 50 percent in energy used for heating.” (USDA Forest Service)
  • “Trees can be a stimulus to economic development, attracting new business and tourism. Commercial retail areas are more attractive to shoppers, apartments rent more quickly, tenants stay longer, and space in a wooded setting is more valuable to sell or rent.” (The Arbor Day Foundation)
  • “Healthy, mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value.” (USDA Forest Service)
  • “The planting of trees means improved water quality, resulting in less runoff and erosion. This allows more recharging of the ground water supply. Wooded areas help prevent the transport of sediment and chemicals into streams.” (USDA Forest Service)
  • Nationally, the 60 million street trees have an average value of $525 per tree.” (Management Information Services)
  • “As you think about landscaping, a well-improved house can actually sell for about 10 percent more than one that wasn’t in the same condition.” (Jeff Lyons, realestate.com)
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About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
This entry was posted in Client Education, Environment, Gardening and Landscaping and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Love those trees!

  1. Pingback: The Saving Grace of Shade | The Creative Flux

  2. annamadeit says:

    Reblogged this on Flutter & Hum and commented:

    If anyone has any doubt about the restorative qualities of trees, and their role as allies in an overheating world, this provides several convincing arguments. Reblogged from The Creative Flux.

  3. Pingback: A dozen super-duper reasons why you really should plant in Autumn! | Flutter & Hum

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