Cities Need More Trees

Cities need more trees. Not just because they look nice, but because they help cut down energy use by reducing the need for air conditioning. They also store carbon dioxide, trap airborne pollutants, intercept rainfall, and raise property prices. A paper that explores the structure, function, and value of street trees in California was recently published in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. Working from state data, it notes that street trees in California (a total of 9.1 million) have an annual value of $1 billion, or $111 per tree. These savings include lowered A/C use and CO2 emissions. That’s the equivalent of saving electricity from 530,000 California households and removing 120,000 cars from the road! By planting more trees in cities, California will continue to benefit from more than one action. Energy costs and CO2 emissions are reduced while communities can enjoy the beauty of trees. Talk about co-benefits! But of course there’s always room for improvement. To learn more about this concept, check out our recent e-Dialogue on the co-benefits of climate action.  

Grand Park Los Angeles Trees

Grand Park in Los Angeles with mature trees, image by PKM, via Wikimedia Commons