Why plant a tree?
- Trees provide the oxygen that keeps us alive. One mature tree provides enough for 10 people to breathe per year.
- Trees absorb carbon dioxide, removing and storing the carbon as they grow. This should be reason enough as the global CO2 concentration surpasses 400 ppm.
- Strategically planted trees can reduce home energy use by as much as 30 % (Arbor Day Foundation). Planting deciduous trees on the east and west sides of the home provide shade in summer, while coniferous trees planted on the north and northwest sides can shield properties from cold winter winds.
- Trees raise property values for the entire neighbourhood: A 2010 US Forest Service study concluded that a tree planted “growing along the public right of way added an average of $12,828 (£8,500) to the combined value of all houses within 100 ft”.
- In 1985 the US Forest Service estimated the value of an individual tree at $273 annually (£180), well over $57,000 over its life time (£38,000). This value comes from its contribution to climate control, soil erosion, stormwater management, wildlife shelter and air pollution reduction.
- Trees improve biodiversity and improve habitat for local wildlife. Trees and large shrubs in your garden can make a real difference to butterflies, bees and birds.
- Trees cool the streets and the city, reducing the urban heat island and the evaporation of fuels within your car parked outside.
- They help the soil by reducing soil erosion by slowing run-off and holding soil in place with their roots, and also by remediating the soil and breaking down harmful chemicals.
- Trees help conserve water through reducing evaporation and run-off, allowing underground aquifers to recharge.
- Aesthetically, these organisms provide beauty to residential and urban areas and research has shown their presence decreases hospital stayover times of patients who had a view of them from their window.
- Socially and communally they provide a sense of identity and communities often band together to protect significant or historic trees.
- As playmates for children and places of rest and spiritual retreat for adults.
- Trees can form an effective sound barrier to noisy streets, providing more peace to one’s home.
The Psychological Motivation to Plant a Tree
If the above reasons are known and understood this should provide some rationale for planting a tree in your garden or local area. To summarise key motivations:
- Improving Your Living Space: The serenity of trees in one’s garden adds natural beauty
- Financial: A mature tree increases the value of your property
- Helping the Planet: Understanding the environmental condition of the Earth and why trees are needed
- The Feel Good Factor: The sense of satisfaction that comes from providing value or help
As seen, there are already powerful human drives present in these reasons. However, with the Teratrees project I hope to add to these motivations. This project shall be launched in the near future and updates shall follow!