September 22 is National Tree Day and it has us thinking about how much we love trees. We see trees every day: in our yards, neighbourhoods, thorough office windows and in parks. Our connection with trees is so deeply rooted, we often take them for granted. To celebrate National Tree Day, we’re sharing a few reasons to love trees.
Trees fight climate change
Trees remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere which reduces the greenhouse effect that causes climate change. They’re also nature’s air conditioners. With our warming climate, trees are important for keeping us cool and reducing the impact of extreme heat days (+30° C). A study by Ryerson University found that increasing the number of trees in your neighbourhood can make it feel up to 11° C cooler.
Climate change is predicted to increase the intensity of heavy precipitation events which will increase the risk of flooding. Trees help prevent erosion (the breakdown of soil) by protecting the soil from wind, storms and by using their roots to bind the soil to the ground. They also absorb water, reducing the risk of flooding.
Trees benefit our health care system and our health
Recent research by EcoHealth Ontario and the Greenbelt Foundation has shown that increasing the number of trees in a neighbourhood can reduce emergency room visits, ambulance calls and hospital stays on extreme heat days, reducing the strain on our health care system. Trees also make us happier, reduce our stress and lower crime rates. Research has shown that more trees in your neighbourhood will improve your health in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 or being seven years younger.
Trees provide habitat for the animals we love
Animals love trees too! Countless animals, bird species and insects use mature trees for shelter, food and nesting. Trees provide sap, buds, nuts and fruits, that animals as well as insects eat. Leaves collect water that small birds can drink, and many birds will rub against wet leaves to bathe. Animals protect trees as well. Some trees use chemicals to attract birds that will eat caterpillars that are harmful to the tree.
Trees make birding possible all year round in Ontario! Southern Ontario’s forests are home to nearly 100 species of breeding birds. One-third of these are resident birds like the black-capped chickadee and downy woodpecker.
Trees are good for the economy
We gain more from planting trees than we lose. For every dollar spent on urban tree planting, we gain up to five times that amount in benefits, including cleaner air, lower energy costs and better water quality. Trees also give us food. If we didn’t have trees, we wouldn’t have many of our favorite fruits and nuts like apples, cherries, hazelnuts and so much more.
Inspired to plant a tree in your yard? Check out our Community Tree Project. This project is currently running in select Brampton neighbourhoods, including Fletchers Creek SNAP and County Court SNAP, where you can participate in tree planting events, join virtual workshops, take part in neighbourhood walks and much more.
By: CVC’s Nicole Di Cintio, Associate, Marketing and Communications