How Trees Make a Difference

Trees are a beautiful part of the natural environment, but they are also amazingly efficient machines—constantly working to make Earth a healthier planet for humans and wildlife alike.

Here are 10 proven ways that trees make a big difference for communities:

Tree being watered by person holding watering can

1. Trees Provide Habitat for Wildlife

Three main components of wildlife habitat: food, cover, and places to raise young, can all be provided by trees. Wherever trees are established, wildlife and other plants are sure to follow, ensuring a healthier and more biodiverse ecosystem.

2. Trees Promote Community

Trees can enhance a community’s sense of pride and ownership. Active involvement in tree planting programs leads to a stronger sense of community, environmental responsibility and ethics.

3. Trees Cool Cities

Trees contribute to urban cooling. Cities develop “heat islands” because dark roofs and pavement absorb solar energy and radiate it back to the atmosphere.

4. Trees Reduce Energy Cost

Urban tree canopy reduces the urban heat island effect and this shading from trees reduces energy demands and the need for air conditioning.

5. Trees Can Boost Local Economies

The presence of trees in neighborhoods can aid in economic development by increasing property values.

6. Trees Improve Health

Research demonstrates that exposure to trees has a relaxing effect on humans, reducing stress and imparting a sense of well-being.

7. Trees Combat Climate Change

One tree can sequester (or take in) more than one ton of carbon dioxide in its lifetime. Planting trees and preventing deforestation are key measures in reducing the human impact on global climate change.

Learn more about how the National Wildlife Federation is safeguarding our forests and helping wildlife survive a changing climate.

8. Trees Increase Property Values

By enriching the urban environment with aesthetical, ecological, and economic amenities, urban trees increase the value of real estate.

9. Trees Clean Air and Water

Trees remove harmful pollution from the air and forested watersheds, and help clean our drinking water. 

10. Trees Reduce Flooding

Trees lessen the force of storms and reduce the amount of runoff into sewers, streams and rivers, improving water quality and reducing flooding.

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Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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