Benefits of the Urban Forest

Urban forests offer wide-ranging ecosystem services, benefits for the climate, and benefits for community residents.

  • Improved air quality: HRM’s urban forest removes almost 1,500 tonnes of air-borne pollutants yearly. Leaf surfaces are able to trap and absorb noxious gases and particulates. This can go a long way towards alleviating our increasing problems with smog.
  • Energy moderation: When properly planted and selected, trees can provide energy savings year-round. In the summer, trees provide shade and shelter from the heat. In the winter, when the leaves have fallen, the tree allows sunlight to pass through, while providing added protection from the cool winter winds.
  • Temperature management: Trees in urban settings are able to buffer extremes in temperature. The shade provided by the trees prevents the infrastructure from absorbing heat, and trees transpire large quantities of water on a daily basis, which cools the ambient air.    
  • Property values and aesthetics: Not only do trees make the city a nicer place, they also increase property values. In some cases, it is estimated that property values may increase by up to 25% in a well-treed neighbourhood.  
  • Noise pollution: Trees can buffer city noise, reducing overall noise pollution. Planting a row of trees between residential properties and a highway is an effective way of reducing noise.
  • Storm-water reduction: Urban forest canopy directs rainwater from streets, into the ground. This enables water filtration through the soil, resulting in cleaner water and less water damage to city infrastructure.
  • Wildlife habitat: There are many different organisms that rely on our urban forest for life. Everything from microorganisms to birds and deer rely on our trees for shelter and food.
  • Physical and psychological well-being: Studies have proven that trees are good for your psychological well-being. Not only are you likely to recover more quickly from an ailment in a treed environment, but studies also show that treed neighbourhoods have reduced crime rates and increased the life-expectancy of residents.