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One Million Trees for One Million People

Why One Million Trees?

Trees provide a wealth of benefits from higher property values and reduced crime rates, to energy savings and cleaner air, to improved water quality and flood control, trees enhance the beauty, comfort, health, and sustainability of our neighborhoods and communities.

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

--Greek proverb

Trees are also beautiful plants that can live up to 50 years in our yards. When we plant a young tree we are making a commitment to provide proper stewardship for its lifetime. As you consider the benefits of planting a tree, also consider what you will do to make sure that tree lives a long and healthy life.

Costs and benefits

leafAccording to the USDA Forest Service, Center for Urban Forestry Research the benefit/cost ratio of planting and maintaining community trees is 7.9 to 1. For each $1 invested in urban forest management, $1.89 in benefits is returned to residents. Just 10,000 trees can bring more than $600,000 annually in benefits to a community.

  • Energy savings: shade trees planted on the east and west side of a typical home can reduce heating and cooling costs by 25%. Reduced energy use results in lower utility bills, less consumption of non-renewable resources, and fewer emissions released into the atmosphere. Shade trees can make buildings up to 20 degrees cooler in the summer.
  • Air quality: trees absorb, filter, and remove air pollutants and sequester carbon dioxide while they grow. The amount of oxygen produced by an acre of trees per year equals the amount consumed by 18 people annually. One tree produces nearly 260 pounds of oxygen each year.
  • Water quality: Trees absorb and filter rainwater reducing flooding and prevent pollutants from entering our water systems. 100 mature trees capture 241,000 gallons of rainwater per year reducing storm water runoff and treatment costs. Trees also reduce demand for outdoor watering by reducing evaporation and replacing thirsty turf areas.
  • Property values: a mature landscape tree can add 10% or more to the value of a home. Neighborhoods with large trees are more stable, have reduced rates of domestic violence, and higher school test scores.
  • Business success: in tree-lined shopping districts customers pay 12% more for goods and linger longer in stores. The pavement in shaded parking lots can last 50% longer than in unshaded areas.
  • Educational success: trees and a green environment have been shown to improve self-esteem, self-discipline in girls, and reduce the affects of ADD in young children, all of which help kids succeed in school and grow up health.
  • Crime reduction: urban areas with trees and a green growing environment have dramatically lower rates of crime including domestic violence. People come together under the shade of trees, which increases community connection and reduces opportunities for crime.

One Million Trees for One Million People is just one of many urban forestry initiatives around the country. To see what other cities are doing: