Summer in the City - Cooler, Thanks to Trees

Bryant Park, New York. Photo courtesy ASLA. 

Bryant Park, New York. Photo courtesy ASLA. 

As the summer heats up, and we take to the shade, it's great to think what trees really do for our urban areas.

Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr., a senior fellow for environmental and sustainable systems at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, had this to say about what urban trees do in a recent Huffington Post article: 

  • A single mature tree can absorb as much as 48 lbs. of CO2 per year and release enough oxygen to support two human beings.
  • A well-placed mature tree can reduce annual air conditioning costs by 2% to 10%.
  • The Center for Urban Forest Research has estimated that a property with trees is valued 5% to 15% higher than a comparable lot with no trees.
  • Planting urban trees is one of the least expensive ways to reduce urban air pollution and decrease health problems and related costs. A study conducted in New York City in 1994 estimated that the trees in New York City removed 2,007 tons of air pollutants with an estimated benefit to society of $9.5 million.

"It's clear that our quality of life is enhanced by our urban forests, and that planting a single tree in an urban setting will yield a significant return on the investment," Cornelius says. "Greening our cities and expanding our urban forests will clearly improve our quality of life."

Source: Landscape Insider