Benefits of the Urban Forest

aerial view of Fort Lauderdale cityscape 

Trees and other plants that comprise the Urban Forest make their own food from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, water and minerals in the soil, and, in the presence of sunlight, they release oxygen for us to breathe. So our very existence is intricately tied to the existence of trees and other photosynthesizing plants.

Trees remove particle pollutants (dust and smoke) as well as gaseous pollutants (carbon dioxide) by absorbing them through the pores in the leaf surface. Particulates are trapped and filtered by leaves, stems and twigs, and washed to the ground by the next rainfall. It has been calculated that one acre of trees can, over a year's time, absorb enough carbon dioxide, to equal the amount you produce when you drive your car 26,000 miles.

Trees also increase economic stability as the presence and condition of a community’s trees is often the first impression made upon its visitors. Studies have shown that tree-lined streets attract businesses and tourists and that apartments and offices in wooded areas rent more quickly.  A community’s urban forest can be considered an extension of the community’s pride.

The following are some of the additional benefits that can be anticipated:

  • increased native biodiversity and enhancement of suitable habitat for rare and endangered native plant and animal species
  • increased quality of stormwater runoff
  • reductions in soil erosion, water consumption, and power consumption
  • reduction of airborne pollutants, non-point water pollutants, and urban heat island effect
  • decreased invasive exotic plants in natural lands
  • enhanced sense of place thus increasing property values
  • enhanced community involvement and local ownership of the preserved areas