The last two decades have seen a continued increase in efforts to create urban forests in various cities around the world. The international debates on how to best reduce carbon emissions have also proven to be a driving force in the increasing popularity of urban trees.

Key Facts on Urban Forests:

Various scientific researches now show overwhelming evidence on the advantages of having trees in urban environments and its benefits to city dwellers.

Here are some key facts on the different advantages of having urban forests.

  • A single mature tree absorbs carbon at a rate of 21.6kg per year and releases enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support two human beings.
  • Establishing 100 million mature trees around residences in the Americas is said to save about US$2 billion annually in reduced energy.
  • Tree planting remains one of the most cost-effective methods of controlling CO2.
  • Tree planting helps to create new habitat for native fauna.
  • Trees improve air quality. In fact, particulate levels on tree-lined streets can be up to 60 % lower than those without trees.
  • Trees buffer storm water and prevent erosion.
  • 100 mature trees can capture as much as 1,137,500 litres of rainwater each year.
  • One mature tree has the same cooling effect as 10 room-sized air conditioners. This can reduce local energy consumption by as much as 10%.
  • Trees have a positive impact on health. A 10% increase in urban green space can postpone the onset of health problems by up to 5 years. Conditions affected include asthma, skin cancer, and stress-related conditions.
  • Trees can aid concentration and enhance learning skills and social functioning in children.
  • Mature trees and green spaces help to reduce crime levels in urban areas.
  • According to the University of Washington, there is less graffiti, vandalism, and littering in outdoor spaces with natural landscapes than in plant-less spaces.
  • Public housing residents with nearby trees and natural landscapes reported 25% fewer acts of domestic aggression and violence.
  • Public housing buildings with greater amounts of vegetation had around 50% less crimes compared to buildings with low amounts of vegetation.
  • Road side planting encourages careful driving and reduces incidences of speeding.
  • Trees and green spaces improve property prices by as much as 15%.

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