Roads are an integral part of our daily lives as they provide us with mobility across landscapes. There are nearly 4 million miles of public roads across the United States, covering approximately 19% of the country’s total land area.
Trees are our most intimate contact with nature and one of our greatest resources. Planting roadside trees has been a vital welfare measure for years as trees are essential for environmental sustenance.
Trees are our most intimate contact with nature and one of our greatest resources. Planting roadside trees is a cheap and positive way to preserve and improve the environment.
Unfortunately, the environmental impact of urbanization has resulted in significant damage to forests, landscapes, and vegetation.
Recent studies investigated how roadside vegetation, both preserving existing trees and bushes and planting new ones, may provide an opportunity to reduce pollutant concentrations in urban areas.
Installing trees on roadsides can help to mitigate some of the negative impacts and social consequences of urbanization, and thus make cities more resilient to these changes. Therefore, it is paramount to manage the natural habitat present adjacent to roads properly.
The benefits of trees in urban spaces are categorized vaguely into societal, economic, and environmental and health.
The following article will focus on these three reasons why it is vital to install trees along roadsides.
- Help Calm Traffic
Roadside trees create defined vertical edges that frame the streets. With roadside trees, drivers can locate the boundaries clearly and better assess their speed. Safe driving results in a reduced incidence of accidents and subsequently creates a safer walking environment for pedestrians.
- Reduce Noise Pollution
Trees on the roadside function as sound barriers that shield surrounding areas from traffic noise.
- Pavement Protection
The shade from trees helps lengthen the life of pavements. According to the results of a study in California based on the daily heating and cooling of asphalt, street trees can add 40 to 60% more life to asphalt. Asphalt is costly; therefore, this will help create a more affordable roadway system.
- Increases Business Value
According to the results of various surveys, businesses on roads with trees record a 20% higher income stream on average. This feature gives the main street stores greater success in comparison to stores located in malls.
For this reason, various companies are paying more attention to opening stores in locations with memorable landscapes in an attempt to boost sales with the help of companies such as Manuel Diaz Farms.
- Increases Property Value
Street trees add value to properties located adjacent to them. According to realtor based estimates comparing homes on streets with trees versus those without trees, the former category is an average of 15 to $20000 higher in value.
- Reduce Energy Cost
Trees help lower the temperature of the surrounding areas. High temperatures play a vital role in determining energy costs. A shaded neighborhood can result in reduced energy bills for houses ranging from 15 to 35%.
3. ENVIRONMENTAL AND HEALTH
- Act as a natural weather shield
Trees provide excellent protection from heat, rain, and wind. Trees lined on roadsides restrict wind force by acting as a filter. This is especially great for the winters when temperatures drop, and cold winds make a regular appearance. During the summers, roadside trees spread their canopy to provide shade for pedestrians.
The abundant tree foliage acts as an umbrella during the rainy season, thereby protecting the sudden downpour and slowly regulating the flow instead.
- Lower Temperatures
Tree canopies provide natural shade coverage to the road underneath, which helps reduce temperatures significantly by almost five to fifteen degrees. Lower urban air temperature is great because streets that are made of concrete and asphalt note an approximate 3 to 7 degrees change in temperature.
- Enhance Air Quality
Tailpipe emissions are a significant public health concern as it contains pollutants like CO, VOC, and more. Automobile exhaust air contributes to asthma, ozone, and other health issues. Planting trees helps reduce the impact of harmful tailpipe emissions.
Numerous health studies have established a relationship between automobile exhaust and adverse health effects. Increased traffic density points to elevated air pollution with high levels of particulate matter, gaseous pollutants, and air toxins. This, furthermore, leads to an array of serious ailments.
When trees photosynthesize, they take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Carbon dioxide contributes to global warming.
Therefore, planting trees not only increases oxygen supply in the atmosphere but also helps reduce carbon dioxide and cancels the impact of tailpipe emissions, thereby enhancing air quality.
- Reduce Flooding, Storm Water Runoff, and Erosion
Roadside trees reduce the need for drainage infrastructure as they absorb a significant percentage of rainwater through their leaves, which evaporates back into the atmosphere. They absorb another 30% of the precipitation via their roots, which is also later transpired back into the air. This system reduces the chances of stormwater runoff, flooding, and erosion.
- Aesthetically Pleasing
“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”― William Shakespeare.
Trees make every space more aesthetically pleasing. The green color breathes life into an otherwise grey and gloomy canvas by adding dimension and contrast to the painting.
- Improve Physical and Mental Health
Trees come with healing properties and have been studied to result in reduced blood pressure as well as improved emotional and psychological wellbeing. Studies suggest that reduced blood pressure leads to reduced road rage as well.
According to Kathlene Wolf from the University of Washington, trees also harbor a healing and calming effect in ADHD patients.
Increased greenery in urban spaces also aids cognitive development in schoolchildren.
- Habitat for Other Creatures
Trees sustain important animal life, including birds, insects, and bacteria. Therefore, to create a healthy ecosystem, planting trees is crucial.
“People who will not sustain trees will soon live in a world that will not sustain people.”― Bryce Nelson.
Planting roadside trees is a cheap and positive way to preserve and improve the environment.
Urban spaces with well-planned and well-managed green infrastructure are more resilient, equitable, and sustainable. Trees provide a benefits package that is almost threefold in worth compared to the initial investment made in planting and caring for them.
Therefore, now is the time to take action and plant more trees. This planet is our home, and it is our responsibility to make the best of it.
As an old Chinese proverb aptly states, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
About the Author
Audrey Throne has an ongoing affair with the words that capture readers’ attention. Her passion for writing dates back to her pre-blogging days. She loves to share her thoughts related to business, technology, health and fashion. To date, she has given life to multiple worth-a-second-read pieces. Audrey is a fitness freak and loves to travel. When she isn’t writing, she takes her kayak and sails to discover more ecru and earthy tones. Find her on Twitter: @audrey_throne.
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