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What Trees do for us

13 Top Benefits of Trees

Trees help to beat climate change

One of the main greenhouse gases is carbon dioxide (CO2), and trees absorb CO2 from the air, storing it in their tissues, while releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere. An acre of mature trees absorbs as much CO2 each year as a car produces over 26,000 miles.

They clean up the air

Trees absorb gases like nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and ammonia compounds from the air, as well as trapping larger particulate pollutants on their leaves and bark.

They pump out oxygen

That acre of mature trees supplies enough oxygen for 18 people to breathe for a year.

Trees combat temperature rises in cities

The average temperature in Los Angeles has risen by 6°F over the last 50 years, thanks to the decline in urban trees and the increase of heat-absorbing and roads and heat-producing buildings. Trees can cool cities by as much as 10°F by providing shade, breaking up so-called urban heat islands, and by releasing cooling water vapour through their leaves.

They save household energy

Just three trees planted wisely around a family home can reduce aircon costs by up to 50%, thus saving money and reducing harmful emissions. Visit for advice on fast-growing shade trees.

They also save water

By shading lawns, trees help to prevent evaporation and as they transpire (release water through leaves), they make the air damper.

Trees reduce water pollution

Trees reduce the amount of run-off after storms by breaking the rainfall. The water runs down the tree trunk into the ground underneath it rather than heading straight out to sea, carrying pollutants with it. Slowing down run-off also helps to prevent soil erosion on hillsides.

Trees act as a sunscreen

The shade provided by trees reduces UV-B exposure by half, so people, particularly children, can spend longer outdoors without accumulating sun damage. Click here for more information about UV-B exposure.

Trees can help to create economic opportunities

Community orchards produce fruit which can be sold to raise money for local projects. Additionally, if a city has a green waste management initiative then there may be micro-business openings for orchard managers – they can sell and distribute mulch to help to conserve water, for example.

Trees are a natural home and protection for wildlife

Many cities feature sycamore and oak trees in great abundance and these trees offer safe homes for many species of birds, bees, possums and squirrels.

They can block out or reduce sounds and sights

Trees can be planted to provide cover for concrete walls or otherwise unattractive buildings. They baffle sounds from roads, factories and schoolyards, and also act as wind and dust-breaks, helping to provide shelter for people.

They provide wood

One of the more obvious benefits, but it’s worth mentioning. In both suburban and rural areas, carefully-selected trees can be harvested and used as either fuel or for building materials.

Trees can raise the value of properties

Well-maintained and beautiful mature trees make a neighbourhood and individual houses look and “feel” better. This effect can raise asking prices by anything up to 15%.


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