General Benefits

Most people know that trees sequester carbon. Additionally, they provide a wide range of lesser known benefits, such as removing toxins from the air, stabilizing the water cycle, and shading buildings. Articles and info on these non-sequestration benefits are included below.

All About Trees


  • “The planting of trees improves water quality. Trees’ complex root network reduces runoff and erosion. This allows more recharging of the ground water supply. Wooded areas help prevent the transport of sediment and chemicals into streams.”
  • “A mature tree absorbs carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 pounds per year. In one year, an acre of forest can absorb twice the CO2 produced by the average car’s annual mileage.”
  • “Studies show up to 88 percent of nitrate and 76 percent of phosphorus is reduced after agricultural runoff passes through a forested streamside buffer.”
  • “Trees contribute to longer pavement life due to reduced heating/cooling (expansion/contraction) of asphalt.”
  • “Surgery patients who could see a grove of deciduous trees recuperated faster and required less pain-killing medicine than matched patients who viewed only brick walls.”
  • “Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save 20-50 percent in energy used for heating.”

Benefits of NYC’s Urban Forests


  • “(New York City’s) trees remove over 42,000 tons of carbon each year.”
  • “Street trees intercept 890.6 million gallons of stormwater annually, or 1,525 gallons per tree on average. The total value of this benefit to New York City is over $35 million each year.”
  • “By using trees to modify temperatures, the amount of fossil fuels used for cooling and heating by homeowners and businesses is reduced. Our City’s street trees provide $27 million a year in energy savings.”
  • “Over the years the City has invested millions in its urban forest. Trees provide $5.60 in benefits for every dollar spent on tree planting and care.”

Tree Facts (From the Arbor Day Foundation)


  • “Global forests removed about one-third of fossil fuel emissions annually from 1990 to 2007.” 
  • “Roadside trees reduce nearby indoor air pollution by more than 50%.” (Link to study)
  • “In 1997, New York City spent $1.5 billion to preserve the forested watershed that supplies New York City’s drinking water by purchasing thousands of upstate acres of forested watershed. A filtration plant large enough to clean New York City’s water supply would have cost more than $6 billion dollars.”
  • “In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced by a car driven 26,000 miles.”
  • “Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30% and can save 20–50% in energy used for heating.”

Plant Conservation Trees to Conserve Soil and Water


  • “Conservation Trees are an integral part of production agriculture as they improve crop yields and preserve topsoil for future abundant harvests. Planted along streams and wetlands, they prevent erosion and clean the water. Planting Conservation Trees in marginal areas of agricultural land attracts wildlife, sequesters carbon, and helps with flood control.”

Useful links from this article:

“A riparian conservation buffer may be natural or planted, but it can offer a landowner generous benefits in return for minimal expense and care. A healthy conservation buffer is evidence of wise land management.”

“The value of windbreaks has been proved in the de- cades since the first large-scale plantings in the 1930s dust bowl years. In addition to protecting valuable topsoil, windbreaks can also increase crop yields through increased soil moisture.”

“Well-managed woodlots or plantations can provide revenue or other eco- nomic value from timber or nut sales, fuelwood, or control of runoff.”

More Useful Pages from on the benefits of trees from The Arbor Day Foundation

Additional Benefits of Trees

  • Windchill can increase the amount of energy that livestock require to maintain their body temperature, which translates into an increase in the amount of food they need to consume. It can also kill young livestock. Creating windbreaks by planting trees can mitigate both effects.
  • Creating tree based windbreaks can also reduce the amount of nutrients that are carried away by the wind.
  • If you reduce the speed of wind blowing over a field, you also reduce the amount of nutrients being carried away and lost.
  • Planting trees next to a river will reduce the amount of water that evaporates from it, meaning that more water will be available for those living downstream.
  • Tree roots release sugars into the soil, and feed the microorganisms living within it. In return, these organisms provide the trees with the water and that they need to grow.