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Greenwich Tree Warden Explains Their Benefits

Trees have many benefits.
Trees have many benefits. Photo Credit: Courtesy Flickr User US Department of Agriculture

GREENWICH, CONN. -- The Greenwich Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send letters to greenwich@dailyvoice.com.

To The Editor:

Recently, the Town Tree Warden rendered his decision on six trees in Cos Cob that were slated for removal.

He has protected the four beautiful Pin Oaks that mask part of the Cos Cob train station, as well as give shade to that area and the parking lot. He also has protected two trees that stand alone in a large area of paving along Strickland Road. Once again, we thank him for saving our town's assets and understanding that safe roads and sidewalks can co-exist with trees.

Because of the past years’ storms, some residents have been concerned about our urban forest. So, this may be a good time to remind us all of the often-overlooked benefits of trees.

Environmental Trees Clean the Air: Trees act as a giant filter that clean the air we breathe by intercepting airborne particles, cooling the air, and absorbing pollutants such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide & nitrogen dioxide. In fact, human life could not exist as we know it if there were no trees. A mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year.

Trees Benefit the Soil: Trees can store harmful pollutants and actually change the pollutants into less harmful forms. Trees filter sewage, reduce the effects of animal wastes, clean roadside spills and clean water runoff into streams. Plus, trees control soil erosion, conserve rainwater and reduce sediment deposit after storms. Tree roots bind the soil and their leaves break the force of wind and rain on soil.

Economic Trees Increase Property Value: Real estate values can increase when trees are planted. Data shows that buyers are willing to spend 3 percent to 7 percent more on homes with ample trees versus few or no trees.

Trees Shade and Cool: Shade resulting in cooling is what a tree is best known for. Shade from trees reduces the need for air conditioning in summer. Studies have shown that parts of cities without cooling shade from trees can literally be "heat islands" with temperatures as much as 12 degrees higher than surrounding areas.

Social benefit Trees bring people together: Data shows that neighborhoods with shady streets and parks create outdoor spaces that attract people. When people are drawn to spaces with trees, they are more likely to see and interact with their neighbors, more likely to get to know each other and become friends.

Thus let us all be mindful of “our friends” the trees and protect our environment, health and property values. Our children, their children, and all the generations to come as the heirs of our fragile planet will be grateful to us.

Sincerely, JoAnn Messina Executive Director, Greenwich Tree Conservancy.

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