Trees Are The Answer
Published March 1, 2019 By KAREN FLEIG
The rainy, cold weather last week really makes me look forward to spring. I’m yearning to see the new leaves on the trees, and it reminds me that trees provide so much more than just a colorful palette after a long gray winter.
Did you know according to a recent Australian National University – Western Sydney University research study, around 25 percent of carbon emissions from the use of fossil fuels is being taken up and stored by plants? This is good, as it helps reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Trammell S. Crow, the founder of EarthX, said his father, Trammell Crow, loved to say, “Trees are the answer.” To prove his point, here are just a few of the benefits trees provide:
• Improved air quality
• Reduced energy use
• Reduced urban temperatures
• Reduced storm water runoff and flooding
• Improved water quality
• Increased economic benefits
Studies from all across the nation show that residential home prices increase from five percent to 25 percent due to the presence of trees, depending on the type of trees, scarcity of treed lots and the maturity of existing trees. Trees can also save up to 30 percent on energy bills. If you shade your air conditioner, you’ll save another 10 percent!
Information provided by Steve Houser with the Dallas Urban Forest Advisory Committee cites a 1995 geothermal study of the Dallas area by Dr. Ken Morgan with Texas Christian University. The study found various areas of Dallas could be 10 to 12 degrees hotter than Oak Cliff due to the extensive tree canopy cover and minimal grey infrastructure. Grey infrastructure is the glass, brick and concrete that hold heat well into the night, which increases urban temperatures.
This grey infrastructure also increases the amount of storm water runoff that can lead to flooding. Trees reduce storm water runoff by allowing the rain to slowly filter through the foliage, which decreases the potential for flooding.
Trees in an urban setting have a therapeutic value of natural restorative effect that releases the tensions of modern life. The cost of environmental stress in terms of work days lost and medical care is likely to be substantially greater than the cost of providing and maintaining trees, parks and urban forestry programs.
One widely reported study shows viewing trees through a window during surgery recovery cut the average recovery time by almost one whole day compared to patients with a view of a blank wall.
People turn to the urban forest, preserved by humans as parks, wilderness or wildlife refuges, for something they cannot get in a built environment. Adults and children alike can benefit from trees offering unlimited climbing challenges and good physical activities through tree swings and treehouses.
As an extra added bonus, nuts from trees are a great source of healthy food for humans.
Basically, any investment in trees certainly offers a large return on the investment. For a guide to planting trees go to texastreeplanting.tamu.edu.
The City of Dallas launched The Branch Out Dallas pilot program in the Kiestwood area with the first 100 trees given away in October 2018.
So, welcome spring and plant a tree or volunteer for a tree planting project.
EarthX’s mission is to connect a global community to create a sustainable world. Learn more about how you can make small changes to positively impact our environment at EarthX2019 coming to Fair Park Friday, April 26 to Sunday, April 28. Learn more at EarthX.org and register for free admission before Sunday, March 31.