Value and worth are two very different things – and trees are a good example of a way to demonstrate their difference.

It only costs a little to plant a tree, but the value it provides to an area is almost immeasurable.

Trees even spare cities from spending a lot of money on different services that benefit the local residents and the overall well-being of the community.

What trees contribute to a city

More than half of the global population reside in urban city areas.

To determine the contribution trees make to these areas, a study was conducted by Dr. David Nowak of the USDA Forest Service, Scott Maco of Davey Institute and their team to find out what ecosystem services trees offer.

They found that the services trees provide for these megacities are (but not limited to) producing cleaner air and water, flood control, energy efficiency, shade and noise damping.

This should come as no surprise.

However, their systematic aerial surveys of 35 megacities showed that only 20% of the average urban area is covered by forest canopy. But this varied greatly among the cities. For example, in Lima, Peru is only 1% is covered by trees, compared to New York City which was 36%.

How much money do trees really save a city?

There is quite an amount of savings to be gained when forest canopies cover urban areas.

For one, the risk of healthcare costs from air pollution is decreased, saving $0.93 million per square kilometre. In addition, around $20,000 is saved by catching water runoff. Trees also contribute to energy savings worth $478,000 for heating and cooling.

Having trees in these megacities also stores around $242 million worth of carbon dioxide.

This makes the sum of all annual savings a median value of $967,000 per square kilometre of tree cover.

The study also showed that, for every dollar invested in planting, cities see an average US$2.25 return on their investment each year.

More trees, more savings

Trees provide both short and long-term benefits for human and nature’s well-being.

What tree canopy space does your city offer?

There are many effective ways to incorporate trees into urban spaces, including sidewalks, parking lots and recreational areas. Those cities that lack space can opt for potted shrubs which offer the same benefits as trees.

Citygreen’s mission is to turn urban areas into green spaces – but we understand that it’s not always easy to do this.

Fortunately, with our selection of sustainable products and green solutions, we can make the process of growing healthy (and highly valuable) trees in cities far more efficient – helping you save more and reap the benefits.