Importance and Values of Trees
The Tree Lovers Crew has been working tirelessly over the past year to increase Jersey City’s tree canopy with the City of Trees campaign. Unfortunately, the tree canopy is still decreasing faster than the TLC and the City’s Parks Department can replenish and expand it. Therefore, it is important that as Jersey City’s residents we come together to save our beautiful trees from dying particularly because trees provide many benefits to our local environment which many times we take for granted.
In fact, according to the Jersey City Tree Canopy Assessment 2015 Report, some of the many benefits of trees include:
Stormwater Runoff Prevention
Successfully maintaining and growing Jersey City Tree’s urban forest could help reduce flooding in many urban areas, by soaking up stormwater during rain events. As many of you know, Jersey City is a municipality surrounded by water. And as a Coastal City, it does not have good drainage and storm drains routinely overflow. In fact, sixty percent of Jersey City’s land drains into a combined sewer system in which rainfall and sanitary sewerage are carried together. Therefore, during heavy rain events, the system gets overwhelmed forcing all the waste to land on our local water bodies such as the Hudson River, polluting our waterways. Part of the problem why this happens is because CSOs are an old infrastructure system that was put in place during a time when Coastal Cities needed to get rid of waste as fast possible. Today, however, the system has become problematic for Cities who are working to conserve our water supply. While the City can certainly try to replace this old infrastructure, replacing the CSOs comes with a very expensive price tag.
However, increasing our City tree canopy and maintaining them could be the solution to this problem, as trees can slow down stormwater runoff and can intercept between 7-22 percent of stormwater runoff from impermeable surfaces. In fact, between 95 million and 155 million gallons of rainwater are currently intercepted annually by Jersey City’s tree canopy and prevented from entering the stormwater system during initial rainfall runoff (first 1 – 2 inches).
Ecological and Environmental Value
Trees are super important to the City’s overall initiative of becoming a greener and healthier city. Trees have the capacity to improve water quality by reducing trees erosion, replenishing groundwater supplies, and preventing harmful land pollutants such as oil, pet waste, fertilizers, and pesticides from flowing into the Hudson River. Trees are also the only mechanism for cleaning already polluted air. Trees reduce street-level air particulates by 60 percent. Every method we can implement is only made for reducing emissions of pollutants not for actual cleaning, so the more trees the better the air quality is.
Community and Social Value
Trees in urban areas are correlated with lower crime rates and violence. They have also proven to improve public health. Trees have been linked to lower rates of heat-related illness, asthma, and other respiratory diseases, as well as improved mental health, relaxation, and well-being.
Property and Economic Value
Property values of homes that are adjacent to parks and open spaces are typically 8-20 percent higher than those of comparable elsewhere.