Trees and Ecology – Why Do They Matter?
Aside from providing a visually pleasing landscape, trees are an incredibly unique ecological infrastructure for several reasons:
- Trees are the only infrastructure elements that increase in value over time
- Trees limit run-off of storm water into rivers
- Shade provided by trees helps keep buildings cool, reducing cooling costs in the summer
- Trees block wind, helping to reduce heating costs in the winter
- Trees absorb air pollution – ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and volatile organic compounds that are harmful for humans to breathe.
- Trees add property value
Monetary Value of Trees
All tree benefits can be assigned a monetary value. For example, a northern hackberry tree with a 36 inch diameter growing in a single-family residential area has an overall economic benefit of approximately $370 per year. If this hackberry tree were to be removed, it would take 269 two-inch diameter trees to provide the same carbon sequestration benefits for one year, and all prior years of carbon sequestration benefits would be lost. The monetary value of a tree is based on the climate zone, tree species, diameter, and the land-use type that is nearest to the tree.
All tree calculations and graphs were generated through Davey Tree Company. To calculate the value of your own tree, visit the Davey Tree Company website.
The Ohio State University Why Trees Matter Signature Program is a multi-disciplinary program focusing on the ecological, economic, and social benefits of trees. This program is tailored for Ohio and Great Lakes area residents, community officials and foresters, and the green industry.
Why Trees Matter works with both communities and professionals, leading projects such as ecological street tree audits, Tree-Mendous Day youth program, providing databases of tree growth and survivability, and more.
To learn more visit the Why Trees Matter website.