I’ve touched on the subject of what trees can do for us before, but because I have been stuck on the topic I thought I would go more in depth on some of it. For the past month I have really been focusing on the research and outreach of what urban trees do for us. Sidebar, if we went to school together, we would make friendly jokes about urban forestry, but in reality in my position I bring up a lot of urban forestry topics to help my community all become intertwined with forestry. I try to bring the landowners with one tree together with the landowners with hundreds of trees.
Okay– back to my hidden connection that trees have with our everyday life. So to make it more believable I went out and measured one of the trees in my yard to explain. I rent a single family home here in Harrison, MI and have plenty of yard trees. I chose the one closest to the house. Its a norther red oak about 24 in diameter. Besides the obvious aesthetics and wildlife benefits of the acorns and the habitat for birds and squirrels and such it is also saving me money on my heating and cooling. According to the National Tree Benefit calculator I save $162 a year. This one tree alone takes up 2, 535 gallons of stormwater runoff each year. It does this by taking in water through the leaves, roots and branches. This in return prevents flooding of the yard and flooding around the house and under the house. It also helps prevent soil erosion around the house and foundation. Besides uptake of the water the tree is also saving energy for me. It will save on average 236 killowatts/ hour for me! It shades the house in the summer keeping my cooling costs down and helps through evapotraspiration keeping the temperature regulated around the house. And hey, not to mention it helps block the wind! This one tree also helps improve the air quality. It absorbs air pollutants and releases oxygen reducing the amount of pollutants I would encounter while in the yard. Trees reduce the risks of asthma, headaches, respiratory and heart disease but taking in these pollutants for us! SCORE!!!
So basically, as I step down from my soap box, the moral of this post is that trees are good and we should all plant a tree this spring. Tomorrow is International Forest Day (March 21st 2015) and we should all honor that by ordering our trees and preparing to plant for the future!