Ultimately, conservation is about empowering citizens to improve the communities where they live and work. The Alliance for Community Trees is the only national organization working to improve the urban forests where 80% of Americans live- our cities, towns, and villages. ACT’s national office assembles coalitions that drive broad environmental success for our more than 180 organizations in 41 states in the pursuit of Clean Air, Green Streets, and Healthy Neighborhoods. Urban forestry is simply about trees in places where people live.
Every day across the country the public is learning the benefits of planting and protecting trees. For example, did you know that more trees correlates with:
Lower crime. The presence of trees in urban neighborhoods has been linked to reduced crime.
Cleaner air. Trees provide the oxygen we breathe. One acre of trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people to breathe each day and eliminates as much carbon dioxide from the air as is produced from driving a car 26,000 miles. Tree leaves help trap and remove tiny particles of soot and dust which otherwise damages human lungs and tree root networks filter contaminants in soils producing clean water. Forty trees will remove 80 pounds of air pollutants annually. That is, 4 million trees would save $20 million in annual air pollution cleanup.
Energy savings. Trees lower the temperature through shade. The cooling effects of trees can save millions of energy dollars. 3-4 shade trees located strategically around a house can cut summer cooling costs by 30-50%. For one million trees, that’s $10 million in energy savings.
More public revenue. Studies have shown that trees enhance community economic stability by attracting businesses and tourists. People linger and shop longer along tree-lined streets. 40,000 trees in commercials parking lots would induce shoppers to spend 11% more for goods and services.
Higher property values. Property values of homes with trees in the landscape are 5 – 20% higher than equivalent properties without trees. 4000 trees in yards would increase the sales price of homes by 1%, plus increase the property values as much as 10%. That is an estimated annual increase in homes sale value of $10.4 million.
More efficient stormwater management. Roots stabilize soil and prevent erosion by trapping soil that would otherwise become silt. Silt destroys fish eggs and other aquatic wildlife and makes rivers and streams shallower, causing more frequent and more severe flooding. Trees along streams hold stream banks in place to protect against flooding. One tree reduces 4,000 gallons of storm water runoff annually. 400 trees will capture 140,000 gallons of rainwater annually. That is, 4 million trees would save $14 million in annual storm water runoff costs.
Community Development Through Gardening
Neglected vacant lots in the modern urban setting pose great hazards to community life. These lots, which host criminal behavior, accumulate trash, and create various health risks, epitomize the frustration and despair nearby residents often feel. More than one-fifth of all land in American cities is classified as vacant. Despite the prevalence of vacant land and the reality of urban blight, many communities have been successful in transforming these dangerous urban spaces into thriving communities. At this moment, the nation wants real solutions that create clean and beautiful communities, and action that goes beyond buzzwords such as green and sustainable. Healthy urban forests are key to helping our growing cities and towns to engage in urban beautification. Find Out More: Clean, Green, and Beautiful The Alliance for Community Trees is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization (EIN # 68-0319301), and also participates in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC # 12402). To discuss planned giving opportunities, call us at 301-277-0040.