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Environmental Benefits of Planting Trees

In the article “China to create new forests the size of Ireland“, it reports that China will plant new forests covering an area roughly the size of Ireland this year as it aims to increase forest coverage to 23 percent of its total landmass by the end of the decade.

Planting trees has become a key part of China’s efforts to improve its environment and tackle climate change, and the government has pledged to raise total coverage from 21.7 percent to 23 percent over the 2016-2020 period, said the China Daily, citing the country’s top forestry official.

Currently Ireland has a total forest cover of approximately 1,789,000 acres equivalent to 10.5% of the national area.

So, what are the environmental benefits of  planting trees?

By planting and caring for trees, you help improve your surrounding, reduce pollution, lower energy costs, improve the appearance of your community and increase the value of your property.

  • Trees can reduce air temperature by blocking sunlight. Further cooling occurs when water evaporates from the leaf surface. The conversion of water to air vapor — a chemical process — removes heat energy from the air.
  • A tree can be a natural air conditioner. The evaporation from a single tree can produce the cooling effect of 10 room size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
  • Deciduous trees block sunlight in the summer but allow sunlight to reach and warm your home in the winter —- place deciduous trees on the south and west sides of your home.
  • Trees can shade hard surface areas such as driveways, patios, building and sidewalks thus minimizing landscape heat load — a build up of heat during the day that is radiated at night resulting in warmer temperatures. Ideally, 50 percent of the total paved surface should be shaded.
  • Evergreen trees can be used to reduce wind speed and thus loss of heat from your home in the winter by as much as 10 to 50 percent.
  • Trees absorb and block noise and reduce glare. A well placed tree can reduce noise by as much as 40 percent.
  • Fallen tree leaves can reduce soil temperature and soil moisture loss. Decaying leaves promote soil microorganism and provide nutrients for tree growth.
  • Trees help settle out and trap dust, pollen and smoke from the air. The dust level in the air can be as much as 75 percent lower on the sheltered side of the tree compared to the windward side.
  • Trees create an ecosystem to provide habitat and food for birds and other animals.
  • Trees absorb carbon dioxide and potentially harmful gasses, such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, from the air and release oxygen.
    • One large tree can supply a day’s supply of oxygen for four people.
    • A healthy tree can store 13 pounds of carbon each year —-for an acre of trees that equals to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide.
    • Each gallon of gasoline burned produces almost 20 pounds of carbon dioxide.
    • For every 10,000 miles you drive, it takes 7 trees to remove the amount of carbon dioxide produce if your car gets 40 miles per gallon (mpg); it will take 10 trees at 30 mpg; 15 trees at 20 mpg; 20 trees at 15 mpg; and 25 trees at 12 mpg)
  • Trees help reduce surface water runoff from storms, thus decreasing soil erosion and the accumulation of sediments in streams. They increase ground water recharge and reduce the number of potentially harmful chemicals transported to our streams.
  • An acre of trees absorb enough carbon dioxide in a year to equal the amount produced when you drive a car 26,000 miles.
  • Trees cool the air, land and water with shade and moisture thus reduce the heat-island effect of our urban communities. The temperature in urban areas is often 9 degrees warmer than in areas with heavy tree cover.
  • Trees can help offset the buildup of carbon dioxide in the air and reduce the ” greenhouse effect.”
  • Trees create microclimates suitable for growing shade loving plants.
  • Dews and frosts are less under tree because less radiant heat is lost at night.
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