Urban forestry is a vital part of modern-day city and town development. With the rise of urbanisation in cities all over the world; it is important we don’t lose our connection with nature. Specifically; trees. Have you ever wondered what are the benefits of urban forestry? It’s a question worth asking, and here at Mapscape, we’re more than happy to shed some light on this.
What is Urban Forestry?
An urban forest refers to all trees that feature in urban areas such as towns and cities, including;
● canals/ rivers
● Amenity areas
● Urban woodlands
● parks/ informal open spaces
● Along streets
● Domestic gardens
● Institutional land (such as schools, colleges etc)
The process of urban forestry refers to the planting, maintenance of care of these trees that are in urban settings. Urban forestry has proven to be extremely beneficial, not only to human well-being but to climate change, natural environment, planning and development, and strategic planning and infrastructure.
So now that we’re on the same page about what an urban forest is as well as urban forestry, we’ll run through the benefits of an urban forest.
The most obvious one – urban forests carry with them environmental benefits that are increasingly important. Trees capture and store atmospheric carbon dioxide, cleaning the air of pollutants. Not only that, they provide shade and reduce wind speeds, which has been proven to indirectly reduce carbon emissions as the need for air conditioning and heating lessens, which reduces emissions from power plants.
They also can add an extra ten years to street pavements, through shading keeping the temperature cooler and reducing damage to the tarmac. This reduces emissions from petrol-heavy equipment like road working equipment.
2) Human Well-Being
The science and data on the well-being improvements that trees make to humans is indisputable. They have been proven to help children’s symptoms with ADD, the more contact a child with ADD has with nature the better managed their symptoms are.
The beauty of trees in urban areas also encourages people to keep fit; going for runs and walks. This can also, in turn, lead to positive social interactions (or, it did before a certain pandemic showed up) between strangers.
Studies have shown that workers with views of nature nearby report less frustration, higher life satisfaction, better health and more enthusiasm for their job.
Trees provide cleaner air for humans, getting rid of toxic pollutants. The presence of many trees also helps to reduce cancer-causing ultraviolet rays.
Finally, trees provide a habitat and canopy for wildlife; which ensures the natural order of things is sustained and that as areas become more urbanized wildlife doesn’t suffer for it.
3) Deter Crime
We’re not going to pretend that trees will valiantly protect your home and public spaces from people up to no good – but there are studies which show that they indirectly deter crime.
As more people tend to visit areas with vegetation than those without; these leads to higher surveillance which IS likely to deter people from committing crimes. There is also an ‘implied surveillance’ in areas that have been well-tended to and are tidy, which can further deer people from committing crimes as they believe there is more risk of being discovered.
Urban trees indirectly provide economic benefits, particularly in terms of shopping districts and real estate. A study found that homes bought within 80-100m of trees were bought for 7 % more than homes that weren’t within that distance of green spaces.
It makes sense. If you were going to buy a home – would you pick the one that has a beautiful park on its doorstep or the one that’s hidden away in an urban complex filled with nothing but concrete? We’re willing to bet it would be the former.
Not only that, but a study on people shopping at shopping districts found that consumers are 9-12 % more likely to make their purchases in the shopping districts that featured trees.
5) Employment Opportunities
Trees provide employment opportunities; for the continued maintenance and care of these urban forests. Not only that, but the tree surveying and tree planting jobs that are created by them means that many more people can find work.
With unemployment on the rise due to COVID shutting down a lot of businesses, industries such as urban forestry, which are always necessary, can help bridge the gap and provide work for people.
As the industry develops and the need for more comprehensive records increases, the geographic accounting that Mapscape offers has never been more useful!
Urban forests bring a lot of very significant benefits to the community they occupy. While a lot of these benefits can be seen as indirect results; they’re still because of trees – and the studies prove that.
As many areas, particularly in developing countries are seeing urbanisation; it is important that the urban forestry industry matches this by ensuring that every community gets to benefit from trees despite the loss of natural green spaces.
If you’re a business looking to perform urban forestry – you’d benefit from our 5 Reasons to Use a GIS article.
And if you already know that you need a GIS, then we recommend our very own Mapscape – an interactive urban forestry software that is simple to understand, easy to use, and guaranteed to meet your tree planting, tree surveying, and urban forestry needs.