What Have Trees Done For You Lately?
When we invest in the health of forests, the benefits are quantifiable.
OUR PASSION FOR NATURE is rooted like a tree in fertile soil. Bright sun or quenching rain deepens our joy. Members of Protectors of Pine Oak Woods find common cause in the preservation of open space, in bird song, in the fall colors of deciduous woods. Yet, there are many who do not share our environmental inclinations.
Now in our 45th year, why has Protectors enjoyed continued success in our effort to preserve open space? Why protect wooded properties? Most simply stated, what is the value of a tree?
According to the US Forest Service, “mature trees can increase property value by 20 percent.” Trees cool our homes through the summer; they save homeowners money on energy costs. The American Power Association estimates that effective landscaping can reduce a home cooling bill by as much as 50 percent a year. The National Board of Realtors has shared a recent study listing nine surprising things that add value to your home. Number 2 on their list is proximity to parkland. “A desirable public park or other recreational open space boosts the property value of nearby homes by 8%-20%.” Number 8 on the list is a community garden and number nine is trees. “No real surprise here—whether trees are in your yard or just on your street, they’re a valuable asset you should be aware of. Here’s a gauge of how much trees are worth to your home value according to a University of Washington research survey:
• Mature trees anywhere in your yard: 2%;
• Mature trees on your street: 3%;
• Trees in your front yard: 3%-5%;
• Mature trees in high income neighborhoods: 10%-15%.”
The value of a tree is a benefit to all. Science lessons in high school taught us that through photosynthesis a tree absorbs carbon dioxide and potentially harmful gasses from the air and releases a continuous supply of oxygen. One mature tree produces enough oxygen to sustain four adults. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture “one acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen.”
According to North Carolina State University Department of Horticulture Science
• A healthy tree can store 13 pounds of carbon each year—for an acre of trees that equals to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide;
• Each gallon of gasoline burned produces almost 20 pounds of carbon dioxide;
• For every 10,000 miles you drive, it takes 7 trees to remove the amount of carbon dioxide produced if your car gets 40 miles per gallon (mpg). (It will take 10 trees at 30 mpg; 15 trees at 20 mpg; 20 trees at 15 mpg; and 25 trees at 12 mpg.)
Trees are important. Each mature tree is priceless. Trees filter our air, cool our homes and beautify our communities. Trees lower the severity of asthma and increase our return on investment.
Members of Protectors of Pine Oak Woods understand the financial and health benefits, but more we appreciate the intrinsic value of a tree. We revel in the ecology of an oak tree, its acorns and squirrels and blue jays. We marvel at the majesty of a grand tulip tree or the peace of a white pine. A tree is of value, thus our passion for preservation.
Protectors of Pine Oak Woods has enjoyed ongoing success for more than four decades because trees are of value to all. The trees deep in our parks, those in our yards and the trees on our streets are each of value. Each tree on each wooded lot or along each wooded street deserves preservation. Every tree in every yard deserves protection. No one needs to hug a tree, but everyone needs to appreciate the many benefits we so freely receive from each and every tree in our community.
See the box on the home page for news of our semi-annual fall meeting. We will be hosting a Forest Ecology Forum with specialists who will share their knowledge and expertise about the role forests play in our ecosystem. Watch for more details as plans are finalized.
—Cliff Hagen, Fall 2019