The economy has been hitting all of us, including cities. The California cities of San Bernardino, Mammoth Lakes and Stockton have all actually filed for bankruptcy. And if things aren’t that desperate in your town, it’s likely your city is at least facing tight budgets. That’s why we should take note of the valuable benefits trees can offer in reducing city costs.
Trees reduced pavement maintenance needs
Trees reduce the needs of pavement maintenance by protecting the pavement from weathering. In fact, tree shade protects the asphalt for longer period of time. Streets with little or no shade need to be repaved twice as often as those with tree cover.
In addition, better condition streets are more pleasant and easier to travel which in turn attracts shoppers, tourists and other economic prospects. And business’ profits lead to more revenue for cities.
Trees lower pollution costs
Trees also offer significant benefits in keeping our air and water clean. In a study assessing Sacramento’s tree cover, Dr. Greg McPherson of the Western Center for Urban Forest Research found that the region’s urban forest removes more than 200,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, saving taxpayers as much as $3 million annually in air pollution cleanup costs.
New York’s tree cover of five million trees removes enough airborne toxins to save taxpayers as much as $10 million a year in pollution mitigation costs, according to David Nowak of the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban Forest Ecosystem Research Unit. How do the trees work their magic? Trees absorb these gaseous pollutants via the tiny pores in their leaves and break them down into less-harmful molecules during photosynthesis.
Trees also keep our water cleaner meaning less investment is needed in expensive infrastructure to clean water after storms. They reduce the volume of water rushing through gutters and pipes following a storm. Depending on size and species, a single tree may store 100 gallons or more, until it reaches saturation after about one to two inches of rainfall. When multiplied by the number of trees in a community, this interception and redistribution can be significant. It is estimated that the urban forest can reduce annual runoff by 2 – 7 percent.
All in all investing in trees can save cities a significant amount of money!