Auburn, Ala.—When most people hear the words city or urban, trees are likely not the first images that come to mind.
Jack Rowe, an arborist, entomologist and horticulturist who works as an urban forestry agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, gave more information about the subject.
What may be surprising to some is that trees are actually essential for cities for reasons far beyond simple aesthetics, and urban forestry requires a great deal of attention and depth of planning.
“Trees are a long-term investment,” said Rowe. “Choosing which trees to plant, where and in what design is important – even down to the traffic on routes along which they are planted.”
The long-term investment of urban forestry provides cities with countless benefits, most of which are taken for granted.
“Trees are like modern livestock,” said Rowe. “Trees are all quietly giving us things 365 days a year, and we maintain them. Since these are all very passive, they tend to go unnoticed.”
So what benefits do trees provide daily that tend to go unnoticed by the majority of the public? To name a few very tangible benefits, trees cool cities, save energy and improve air quality. Apart from these, trees can also have an economical and even psychological impact on cities.
Trees cannot only affect consumer behavior and lead to better perceptions of business districts, but they also raise property values.
If a city did not have trees, the government would have to invest much more money in infrastructure. There would be a lot more runoff as there would be no roots to soak up rain, and there would be more damaged streets as there would be no tree shade to preserve the quality of asphalt. Furthermore, people would be less likely to want to move to that city.