Raising Awareness of Tree Benefits

Raising Awareness of Tree Benefits.

During hot summer days street trees provide excellent shade and make the urban landscape look so much better, but there are other values that are less obvious.

Arborists and urban foresters in the U.S are developing a program with data from the U.S. Forest Service so people can now stroll down Greenfield Main Street and discover the environmental benefits and species of some of the trees there.

“We chose 25 trees of various sizes and types and, using i-Tree, we calculated how much carbon dioxide they sequester annually; how much stormwater they intercept, which increases rainwater infiltration, storage and filtration; and how much cooling and heating energy is avoided because of reduced summer temperatures and winter wind block,” said Todd Beals, a ISA certified arborist and part of Greenfield’s Tree Committee.

They’ve put a sign up on every tree which what type of tree it is, along with the actual value of the tree in addition to the cost of replacing the tree. The labelled trees begin at the Town Common and run west on both sides of Main Street, ending around Wells Street. They were chosen because of their varied sizes and types.

A pin oak in front of Veterans Mall, on one of the largest trees, intercepts close to  2,500 gallons of water each year as rain gets caught in it’s leaves and branches.

It has also sequestered 782 pounds of carbon to date and reduces additional carbon dioxide emissions by avoiding the use of 121-kilowatt hours of electricity for air conditioning each year.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Japanese lilac tree that was planted three years ago on Arbor Day is just getting started. It intercepted 74 gallons of rainwater last year, but with care from the town’s Department of Public Works and residents, its benefits will increase each year.

“In addition to the benefits quantified by i-Tree, there are many intangible benefits,” said Mary Praus, Franklin Regional Council of Governments land use planner and Tree Committee member, in the release. “Researchers have found that crime rates are lower in neighbourhoods that have street trees, as are asthma rates. Other research shows that people who are ill heal faster when they can see trees out the window next to their beds.”

For more information, visit greenfieldtreecommittee.org

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