Planting a tree has long been a symbol of environmental activism. Since the first Arbor Day was observed in 1872, people across the U.S. have turned to the gardening tools and dug their knees into the dirt to plant a tree.
Let’s say you’re interested in planting a tree. TreePeople.org has a comprehensive guide on how to go about planting a tree – it’ll show you how to choose the right tree, choose the right place and plant the right way. Still, however, you might have one question: What are the benefits of tree planting?
Trees save money
Strategically planting a tree in your yard can save you money. Sure, you can’t exactly say money grows on trees, but saving money by planting a tree is pretty close. A study by the U.S. Forest Service Center for Urban Development showed that planting trees on the south and west sides of a house can reduce energy costs by 30 percent during the summer. It’s pretty simple – trees reduce cooling costs by providing shade in summer, so the hotter the summer in your area, the more a tree will save you.
Planting a tree may not earn you money, but if you live in Portland, Ore., it might make your property worth more. Homes in Portland with trees growing nearby sell for an additional $8,870 on average and are on the market for two fewer days.
Trees keep cities cool
According to the EPA, trees help cool the environment and reduce urban heat islands. Cities that are heavily paved, which is nearly all of them, benefit from trees because they block heat from hitting pavement and increasing temperature. This is significant; the EPA says strategically planted trees can reduce peak summer temperatures by 2-9° F.
Trees restore damaged ecosystems
Trees can serve as a remedy for areas that are currently useless as farmland due to years of mismanagement. Trees for the Future is a nonprofit agroforestry organization specializing in planting trees to restore ecosystems in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Trees revive “dead” soil and serve as barriers against wind and rain, and mitigate against natural disasters, such as mudslides and floods.
Trees planted in tropical areas are proven to reduce global warming by sequestering carbon dioxide. It is estimated that 50 pounds of carbon per year is sequestered by a tropical tree, making tree planting in tropical areas especially beneficial. Poverty-stricken tropical areas are often the places that need trees the most because they also serve to improve agriculture. This is why Trees for the Future plants in places like Kenya, India, Uganda and Haiti, to name a few.
We at USAgain believe it’s absolutely essential to plant trees now to build a sustainable future. We have partnered with Trees for the Future to plant over 200,000 trees in the tropics in 2013. Each tree will sequester around 50 pounds of climate-changing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually, which really adds up when you consider all 200,000 of them.
If something as simple as planting a tree can bring so many social and environmental benefits, why wait? The time to plant is now. We hope that other for-profit enterprises follow our lead and recognize that our future depends on the environment, and planting trees goes a long way toward sustainability.
Learn more about USAgain’s tree planting campaign here.