Trees are more than just a decorative feature of a landscape; they provide real benefits for the environment. Whether they are deciduous or coniferous, hardwood or softwood, planting trees can improve the environment in several ways.
Outdoor air pollution has become a serious health concern. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it’s responsible for 3 million deaths each year. Trees, however, create cleaner air by absorbing sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and other other pollutants while simultaneously producing fresh oxygen.
Protection From Flooding
Trees also protect the environment from flooding. According to the official Michigan state website, 100 mature trees will capture up to 100,000 gallons of water each year. As rainwater flows across the ground, some of it is absorbed by trees. Any remaining rainwater that passes through is filtered during this process, thus creating cleaner water.
An environmental benefit of planting trees that’s often overlooked is the positive impact it has on the climate. Because they absorb moisture, trees lower the surrounding humidity level. Furthermore, they act as a windbreak by reducing wind speed. Combined with their ability to create cooler air, trees create a more comfortable climate for nearby homeowners and their families.
Trees offer a natural source of shade and protection from the sun. In turn, they lower the cooling needs of surrounding homes and buildings. TreePeople explains that just three mature trees can reduce a home’s cooling expenses by up to 50 percent. They absorb sunlight, restricting the amount of solar radiation that reaches a home’s roof or siding.
There’s a reason so many airports are encircled with thick forests: Trees absorb the noise of jets flying overhead. Sound is essentially nothing more than vibration waves. When these vibration waves reach a thick, multi-layered structure like a tree, they weaken.
Ecosystem for Wildlife
Of course, planting trees will create a natural ecosystem for wildlife. They attract birds, squirrels and other animals, creating a more pleasing environment. The presence of these animals can be beneficial in itself as well. They’ll control pests and spread seeds, for example.
The bottom line is that trees are essential for the environment. Without them, neither humans nor any oxygen-breathing wildlife would survive.