10 Crucial Ways Trees Support Personal and Environmental Health
Trees offer a haven, a quiet respite, and an opportunity to get away from the noise and stressful activities of daily life. Walking through a forest can help alleviate anxiety and lift your mood. You can feel better mentally and physically after breathing in fresh air, hearing birds in the trees, and watching squirrels chase each other up in the tree’s branches.
In addition to personal health benefits, trees are critical to our planet’s health. Trees are a limited natural resource. Every year, 32 million acres of forests are cut down. Without replenishing our forests, we could face a myriad of environmental problems, not to mention personal health problems.
Here are 10 important reasons we need trees to help support personal and environmental health:
Reason #1: Improves air quality
Trees are essential for air quality. They not only produce oxygen, they also absorb and store dust and carbon dioxide. Through their leaves and bark, trees are able to filter pollutant gasses like ammonia, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide.
Reason #2: Filters groundwater
Trees are a natural filter for rainwater because they help reduce erosion and flooding. When we have a big rainfall, trees catch the water in their trunks so it flows into the soil near the tree. From there, the tree can filter it and preserve the water. This also helps prevent pollutants from the stormwater from entering the ocean.
Reason #3: Reduces ground temperature
Trees offer shade and contribute to a significant reduction to asphalt temperature and the interior temperature of our cars and homes. Because of the shade they provide, we can lower our energy usage indoors. Trees in parking lots have been shown to lower the temperature inside cars by up to 47 degrees Fahrenheit!
Reason #4: Encourages movement and improves physical health
The presence of trees in greenspaces is inviting and people choose to walk more when they are walking near trees and wildlife. Some people report having improved focus after spending time in a greenspace. Daily physical movement can help reduce our population’s rates of obesity and heart disease. Regular physical activity can also help improve energy levels and sleep quality.
Reason #5: Supports mental health
Studies show that trees can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Being around trees can also reduce stress and improve your mood. Exposure to trees and forests has also been shown to accelerate recovery after having surgery or being sick. Trees release a chemical with antibacterial and antifungal properties called phytoncides. When you breathe in phytoncides, it can help reduce blood pressure, increase pain threshold, and minimize anxiety. Hospital patients report faster healing with less complications when they can see trees through their window.
Reason #6: Provides wood and food
Trees can be carefully grown and selected to be used as building materials, to make furniture, or to serve as a fuel source. Trees also serve as a source of food for animals. Squirrels, birds, and deer rely on tree’s nuts, acorns, and apples.
Reason #7: Serves as a home for animals
Trees house and protect a wide range of animal species. They offer mice, birds, bees, opossum, squirrels, and many other animals a safe space to hide from predators, sleep, and reproduce.
Reason #8: Reduces noise pollution
Trees act as a natural buffer from sounds. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines noise pollution as “unwanted or disturbing sound” that disrupts or diminishes your quality of life. Examples include traffic sounds, emergency vehicle sirens, and noises from parks, sporting events, or school yards. Trees also create more privacy for people living in apartment buildings or homes. During high winds, the leaves and branches of trees can absorb and deflect sound waves caused by storms.
Reason #9: Increases property values
Carefully planted trees and shrubs help beautify neighborhoods, the exteriors of homes and buildings, as well as walking spaces. Research indicates that well maintained lawns can increase the sale of a home by 7% to 15%. Trees planted on streets lined with businesses report more foot traffic.
Reason #10: Reduces violence and promotes unity
Trees and landscaping near homes and apartment dwellings have been shown to reduce criminal activity and reduce the community’s level of fear. In addition, tree planting community events and fundraisers that support tree protection encourage communities to work together to conserve these natural resources.
Protecting trees is important to all of us, including Nice-Pak, the parent company of the Nice ’N CLEAN® brand. That’s why Nice-Pak is partnering with American Forests and Project Learning Tree to plant 100,000 trees over the next three years in an effort to help preserve and protect our forests from the harms of deforestation. The partnership will help drive awareness that trees and forests are the best nature-based solution to climate change and provide education about the vital role they play in improving people’s health and protecting the planet for future generations.