Not just the concrete jungle: Trees Belong in the City

We often refer to cities as concrete jungles, but this is becoming an outdated concept. Major cities all over the world, including London, New York and Melbourne, are introducing the idea of urban forests in a bid to make the city and its inhabitants healthier and happier.

Greener and cleaner

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Urban forests are essential to a city’s well-being. They baffle noise, slow down traffic and make people happier. This is a good thing, as by 2050 it’s thought that 80% of us will be urbanites. Sadly, however, we’re planting fewer urban trees than we’re chopping down. This needs to change and fast-growing species like the thuja green giant tree at may prove to be a real life-saver for our cities.

City trees don’t just mask noise and look beautiful, they can slow down rainfall and help to prevent floods. They also reduce the urban heat island (UHI) effect that raises temperatures in cities due to dark tarmac absorbing sunlight and buildings kicking out their own heat. Trees also give wildlife somewhere to live, as well as giving humans somewhere green and relaxing to hang out and exercise. Best of all, they absorb various greenhouse gases, store them, and churn out oxygen and cooling water in return.

Urban trees are good for the body

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A large, mature beech tree pumps out enough oxygen each day to keep ten people alive, as well as catching dust and other pollutants on its bark and leaves.

People living around trees have fewer incidences of asthma, allergic reactions and skin cancer thanks to trees cleaning the air and shading them from solar radiation.

Urban trees are good for the soul

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Green spaces are good for relaxation, socialising and combating a range of social health issues, like obesity and loneliness. They help to encourage outdoor activity – an Australian study found that people are more likely to reach the magic 10,000 steps if they have somewhere beautiful and safe to take those steps in.

People don’t even have to get out among the greenery to feel the benefits. Several studies have demonstrated that patients in hospital rooms looking out onto parks or trees don’t need as much pain medication. They also get discharged from hospital a day earlier, on average, than patients looking at buildings or roads.

Trees give people a sense of freedom and escape; even office workers feel happier if they can look out of a window onto green leaves.

Urban trees are good for animals

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City life is tough for many animals, they have limited resources to depend on, and fewer places to build homes. This is where trees come in to offer lots of advantages and benefits. A wide variety of trees within a city can support a wide variety of bird, mammal, lizard and insect species. It’s this diversity that helps the animals survive (even if some are preying on the others…). The willow tree provides shelter and resources for more than 450 different species of animals; most of these are the insects that become meals for the birds.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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