The Scientific Benefit of Trees for People
By 2050, an estimated 66% of the total world’s population will be living in an urban environment¹. Urbanization, coupled with a changing climate, is a challenge on a global scale that greatly impacts the health and well-being of humans. In order to establish healthy and vibrant communities, trees need to be part of the global discussion. Over the past 30 years, science has demonstrated how trees in our landscapes benefit people and that well-maintained trees are an important asset to keeping a community healthy and safe. Planting and maintaining trees, as part of urban planning and engineering solutions, can serve as a nature-based solution to many challenges communities face: managing stormwater, supporting mental and physical health for people, reducing crime, addressing pollution, and providing wildlife habitat. Despite the critical importance of urban forest, urban tree cover continues to decline nationwide each year².
Investing in trees through planting, care, and maintenance will produce a significant return on investments, especially as older and larger trees provide the most benefits³. Trees are a long-term solution for many issues people face and they are a valuable resource for every community, especially those in urban or suburban settings. Botanical gardens and arboreta play an important role in this pursuit for a healthy and vibrant urban forest. These institutions provide valuable insight and leadership due to their expertise in botany and horticulture, as well as an established track record of public outreach and training. The future of urban forestry should focus on protecting large trees, as well as improving age structure, standards and planning management.
While not comprehensive, this list provides an overview of the many scientific benefits that trees, and greenspace with trees, provide to people both directly and indirectly.