“Urban forest” is a term which refers to the trees and other plant life growing in urban areas, and the ecosystem that is created as a result. Street trees, as well as trees in parks, yards, gardens, or other green areas can all be classified as urban trees. As populations within cities have continued to expand, the importance of urban forests has only increased due to their numerous benefits.
These benefits include:
Enhancing a Sense of Place and Well-Being
Trees can be good for your mental health. They create a place of peaceful respite in the middle of hectic and chaotic urban environments. By planting trees and allowing your city’s urban forests to flourish, you can provide people with a way to relieve stress and recover from mental fatigue. Urban forests also contribute to the social ties of the local community. When there are inviting green spaces available, people are more likely to come out and spend time together in those spaces.
Reducing Storm Water Runoff
The presence of trees can be extremely helpful when it comes to dealing to excess storm water. Storm water runoff can cause floods and create other hazards. Trees can intercept a significant amount of water, putting that excess storm water to good use. Additionally, foliage provided by trees can allow for the soil below to absorb rainfall more gradually, which helps the ground to absorb more water without causing soil erosion. This leads to less sitting water after a storm.
Provides Habitat for Wildlife
Increasing urban biodiversity is a critical role of urban forestry. Trees and other green infrastructure can provide food, water, and shelter for wildlife in urban areas. Wildlife is an important part of the urban ecosystem, and it is vital that there be a habitat for that wildlife. Without the resources that trees provide, it can be difficult for different species of wildlife to thrive in urban environments.
Increases Beauty in Our City
Who wants to live anywhere without trees? The inclusion of trees in urban spaces brings additional beauty to the community. Most people agree that green spaces create more pleasant places to live, and that the presence of trees can make cities more beautiful. They also reduce sound pollution, creating an all-around better and more inviting place to live.
Provides Shade and Relief from Heat
Trees can be an effective way of keeping an area cool in hot temperatures. Urban forests can mitigate heat and reduce heat stress, while providing the community with cool shaded areas to find relief from the high temperatures. The shade that is provided by trees has a significant effect on the heat levels of the city beneath them and can help bring down extreme temperatures. This can also help reduce cooling costs.
Produces Oxygen and Cleans Our Air
It’s common knowledge that trees produce oxygen. But, in addition to being valuable producers of oxygen, trees can help clean the air of urban pollutants. They absorb pollutant gases, such a carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, and filter particles in the air, such as dust and smoke. Having trees in urban areas results in better air quality and cleaner air for us all to breathe.
Reduces CO2 and Fight Climate Change
Urban forests are a vital part of the fight against climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), reducing pollution levels in urban areas that are often densely packed with cars. The ability of urban forests to help filter the air contributes to lowering carbon emissions. Furthermore, the shade and cooling effects provided by trees can help conserve energy. Planting more trees in our cities is vitally important to protecting our environment.
“Building greener cities: nine benefits of urban trees” https://www.fao.org/zhc/detail-events/en/c/454543/
“Urban Forestry – Benefits of Trees” https://www.i4es.org/benefits-of-urban-forestry/
“Urban Forests” https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/urban-forests
“Urban Forests: The Benefits Outweigh the Costs” https://community-planning.extension.org/urban-forests-the-benefits-outweigh-the-costs/
“Urban Street Trees: 22 Benefits” https://www.walkable.org/download/22_benefits.pdf
“What is an Urban Forest?” https://greenblue.com/gb/what-is-an-urban-forest/
“Why Urban Forests?” https://caufc.org/why-urban-forests/