Urban trees: A smart investment in public health

Would you spend $8 per year to see your community reduce rates of obesity, heart disease, and asthma? What if that investment also increased property values?

Would you spend $8 per year to see your community reduce rates of obesity, heart disease, anxiety, and asthma? Still not convinced? What if that investment also reduced energy costs and increased property values?

Urban trees can transform city neighborhoods, contributing to a wide range of public health gains, and investing an additional $8 per person, on average, in planting and maintaining urban trees could have a significant impact. Yet across the United States, cities are losing about 4 million trees per year.

The humble street tree is an ecological powerhouse. Study after study has shown multiple benefits to people and society. Trees and other green spaces in cities can help manage runoff during rainstorms. They can help clean and cool the air, reducing harmful air pollutants and air temperatures on city streets.

They lend beauty to our communities and significantly increase property values. And time spent in natural environments has demonstrated mental health benefits.

A new white paper raises the concern that a combination of reduced budgets and the ravages of drought, storms and pest infestations takes a toll on urban trees, and without investment, cities are losing all the benefits that trees provide.

Our paper finds that meeting the funding gap for urban forests would cost only $8 per resident per year. The report, titled Funding Trees for Health also finds that a significant percentage of that cost could be offset by the public health gains that city trees provide.

Read entire article Urban Trees: A Smart Investment in Public Health | 100ResilientCities

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