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What is a tree good for anyway?

A couple weeks ago, we looked at the wide variety of trees and their different purposes. Trees provide shelter for birds, lumber for buildings, fruit and nuts for food, fuel for heat, rubbery sap, gum to chew, and medicines to heal.

Here are a few more benefits from trees.

  • Trees provide beauty and shade which increase property values.
  • Trees attract wildlife like birds and squirrels.
  • Trees are serene and tranquil. Gazing out hospital windows at trees has been shown to speed healing after surgery. They can reduce stress and mental fatigue. Children with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they have access to nature.
  • Trees can be planted to block the wind or hide objectionable views.
  • Trees improve the air quality by soaking up carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.
  • Trees absorb odors and pollutants.
  • Trees conserve water by preventing soil erosion and reducing runoff. They also release water vapor into the air and improve water quality in general by filtering out pollutants.
  • Trees cool the air by absorbing or deflecting radiant energy from the sun. By shading sidewalks and streets in cities, trees can cool whole neighborhoods.
  • By blocking the wind in winter and cooling the air in summer, trees save money by reducing heating and air-conditioning costs.
  • Trees reduce exposure to the harmful UV rays that cause skin cancers and cataracts.
  • Trees reduce noise by absorbing the sound waves.
  • Trees benefit communities. Studies have show that businesses near trees attract more customers and that barren areas are more prone to violence.

Makes me want to go plant a few more trees in my yard!

If I want to be like a tree in 2012, this list also makes me wonder what benefits I provide. Do I make life better for those around me? Do I filter out or block the harmful elements? Do I serve as a calming factor in this stress-filled society? Do others want to be around me?

What about you? Were you surprised by anything on the list? Do you find gazing at trees to have a calming effect? What benefits do you offer those around you?

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