Trees and the Environment

Clean Air, Natural Beauty, and So Much More

trees and the environment

Have you ever seen a map of your city’s tree canopy? Here in Portland, ours looks like this, and it’s pretty amazing to see the development take place over the last several years, thanks in large part to organizations like Friends of Trees. According to research statistics, the current tree canopy over our fair city covers approximately 26% of the land area here in Portland. City planners have pegged goals for development at closer to a third of the city. With great coverage coming from forest and natural areas close by the city’s interior, there is still a lot of positive work to be done in urban and industrial areas throughout the city.

What Trees Do for the Environment: the Benefits

Among the many benefits of trees in a natural or built environment, some of the more pronounced positive aspects have to do with the air we all breathe. Trees help out with the quality of the air because of several reasons, including the fact that they absorb CO2 — they remove the carbon and store it up internally, while turning oxygen back over into the air. This effort represents the potential for some serious “fighting back power” when considering the harmful effects of global warming and greenhouse gases.

So what do we mean by trees having the ability to clean the air we breathe? Well, trees are capable of absorbing the gases such as ammonia, sulfur dioxide, and ozone. With these gases and odors, trees are able to filter fine particulates from the air, storing them on or in leaves and bark. And according to this fantastic Benefits of Trees list, it is estimated that “in one year, an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.” Pretty impressive.

In the UK, developers, construction companies, and government officials have access to organizations that specialize in tree planning and surveying, to measure the impact that development has on the natural environment, or to gauge where trees will best suit the landscape, and how to ensure that native species are returned to their natural habitats. Click here and check this for ecological surveys if you are interested in learning more about such a service.

The Tree Calculator: What It’s Good For

We also found this great tool online, called the Tree Calculator. According to the site, “the Tree Benefit Calculator allows anyone to make a simple estimation of the benefits individual street-side trees provide.” Based on earlier and similar technology, the user simply inputs tree size and species, as well as the location of the tree, and in return, they receive information on the economic and environmental value that the tree provides each year.

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