Benefits of Urban Trees
- Within the same city, areas without tree canopy can be up to 22 degrees warmer than areas with shade provided by a tree canopy
- Trees help moderate temperature in both directions; properly placed around buildings, trees can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can also save 20–50 percent in energy used for heating
- Trees absorb and store carbon dioxide, which is one of the main contributors to greenhouse gases causing climate change. In the United States alone, urban trees store over 708 million tons of carbon and capture an additional 28.2 million tons of carbon per year. On a more intimate scale, the average carbon footprint for a person in the U.S. is 16 tons of carbon dioxide emitted each year; one tree removes about 1 ton of carbon dioxide per year. A single mature tree also produces enough oxygen in a year needed for a family of 4 (approximately 260 lbs)!
- Urban forest systems also slow stormwater flow and filter out pollutants, reducing the burden on water treatment facilities.
- Residents of buildings with more trees and grass reported that they knew their neighbors better, socialized with them more often, had stronger feelings of community and felt safer and better adjusted
- There is a strong relationship in many cities between higher levels of tree canopy and lower levels of crime, regardless of socioeconomic factors
- Residents of areas with the highest levels of greenery were 3x as likely to be physically active and 40% less likely to be overweight or obese than residents living in the least green settings
Tree Canopy in Tacoma is an Equity Issue
The Good News!
To learn more about urban forestry and ways to individually get involved in Tacoma, check-out the Tacoma Tree Foundation and the City of Tacoma's Urban Forestry site, including Grit City Trees and Tree Coupon programs offering free or discounted trees to Tacoma residents!