We tend to take trees, and plants in general, for granted. Most children know that trees are shady and pretty, but how about the importance of trees for kids and adults everywhere? Why should we care about trees and think twice about cutting them down? Let’s find out.
The Importance of Trees for Kids, and Everyone
In my post about facts about trees, I mentioned that trees cool the air and filter it, saving lots of money. I also mentioned that they help prevent flooding. These are also reasons why trees are important. But, the importance of trees goes beyond these things. The Alliance for Community Trees compiled a 19-page report detailing many tree benefits. Here are some highlights.
Improve Retail Spaces
Did you know that in shopping districts with trees, people spend longer periods of time and money? Yes! Adding trees and other plants to beautify retail spaces benefits the shops and the shoppers, as we’ll see later in this post. It seems that the improved aesthetic makes the spaces more pleasant to linger in. People end up spending more time leisurely walking, eating, and gathering if there are trees around. Trees also raise property values for many of the same reasons.
Did you know that planting trees can absorb highway noise? In places where trees are planted on berms along busy streets, noise is reduced by up to 10 decibels. This makes sense since the wood can disperse and absorb the sound waves. In fact, some experiments with trees suggest that trees even respond to certain wavelengths of sound. They do this by growing faster. Interesting…I wonder if trees can grow in response to the chattering of birds….
Got dirty water? Trees and other plants are super effective at removing pollutants and toxins from water. Because they draw water up through their roots, they also draw up everything that’s in the water. All the pollutants then stay inside them, making our water cleaner for us to use. It also improves the water quality for the wildlife that depend on that water. The only downside to this is when it comes to medicinal trees. If you want to use willow, oak, birch, or other medicinal trees, be sure you get the bark and leaves from trees growing near cleaner running water.
The Importance of Trees for Kids and Adults Includes Improved Health
Where there are trees, there is a lower incidence of disease and mental health issues. An article from the American Psychological Association cites research that trees have a positive influence over school performance and brain functioning. In addition, being out in nature, which very often means spaces with trees, reduces stress and anxiety. It is one factor that helps depressed people feel better. And, those who grow up in green spaces have a 55% reduced risk of developing mental illness later in life.
Finally, the importance of trees for kids and adults living in rough, urban neighborhoods may be life or death. After all, neighborhoods with trees tend to be safer. They enjoy less incidence of crime, less anxiety and stress, increased happiness and reported contentment, and better relationships. It seems the benefits to mental health that trees offer translated into less aggressive behavior. This effect can also be seen in areas where there are community garden projects or urban farming in which a neighborhood cooperates to grow food.
It seems that trees offer some intangible rewards that are even more important than the practical benefits. Plant a tree and learn more about them!
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