As I’m working on my dissertation, I’ve been discovering more and more reasons why Leicester should plant more trees, and they are all reasons which apply to all cities. So without futher ado, here are the reasons why!
- Carbon sequestration and storage
As you will remember from school, as trees grow, they take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it, ultimately reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and mitigating the risk of climate change. Urban areas have much higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the air due to the combustion of fossil fuels, hence trees can be used to offset carbon dioxide emissions from the city itself. When the trees die, the biomass can be used for biofuels, offering a renewable energy source.
Correctly-placed trees in urban areas can provide shade to buildings in summer, reducing the need for air conditioning, fans or any other form of cooling that requires energy consumption. If the trees planted are deciduous, they will shed their leaves in winter, meaning sunlight can reach the building and is still able to heat the building in winter.
Trees also cool the air by a process of evapotranspiration, whereby heat energy is used to convert liquid water on the leaves into water vapour – cooling the local air. As UK mean temperatures are set to increase with climate change, natural cooling mechanisms such as these will be vital to lower maximum summer temperatures in urban areas, and protect the health of people who live and work there.
Trees also offer multiple habitats for wildlife, including birds, insects, and small mammals, and function as a mini-ecosystem. A greater network of trees will also enable wildlife to move and relocate to cooler areas as UK climate change threatens the ability of species to survive in the areas they currently live in.
5. Air quality
Trees have also been known to reduce air pollution in urban areas, lowering the occurrence of respiratory problems, and generally making the air much more pleasant to smell and breathe in.
6. Mental health and well-being
Have you ever walked through a tree-lined street or park and instantly felt more relaxed? Greener areas are proven to reduce stress and make increase the release of endorphins which makes us happier. Getting involved in tree management and conservation is also very therapeutic, and is increasingly used as a natural treatment for mental health issues.
7. Aesthetic reasons
Who can deny that trees make an area look more beautiful?
I hope you enjoyed reading, and if you know any other reasons let me know in the comments below!