Benefits of Trees
The benefits that trees provide from social, communal, environmental, and economic perspectives.
Most trees and shrubs in cities or communities are planted to provide beauty or shade. While these are excellent benefits, woody plants serve many other purposes. The benefits of trees can be grouped into social, communal, environmental, and economic categories.
Human response to trees goes well beyond simply observing their beauty. We feel serene, peaceful, rest- ful, and tranquil in a grove of trees. We are “at home” there.
The calming effect of nearby trees and urban greening can significantly reduce workplace stress levels and fatigue, calm traffic, and even decrease the recovery time needed after surgery. Trees can also reduce crime. Apartment buildings with high levels of greenspace have lower crime rates than nearby apart- ments without trees.
The stature, strength, and endurance of trees give them a cathedral-like quality. Because of their poten- tial for long life, trees are frequently planted as living memorials. We often become personally attached to trees that we, or those we love, have planted.
The strong tie between people and trees is often evident when community residents speak out against the removal of trees to widen streets or rally to save a particularly large or historic tree.
Even when located on a private lot, the benefits provided by trees can reach well out into the surrounding community. Likewise, large- growing trees can come in conflict with utilities, views, and structures that are beyond the bounds of the owner’s property. With proper selection and maintenance, trees can enhance and function on one property without infringing on the rights and privileges of neighbors.
City trees often serve several architectural and engineering functions. They provide privacy, emphasize views, or screen out objectionable views. They reduce glare and reflection. They direct pedestrian traffic. Trees also provide background to and soften, complement, or enhance architecture.
Trees bring natural elements and wildlife habitats into urban surroundings, all of which increase the quality of life for residents of the community.
Trees alter the environment in which we live by moderating climate, improving air quality, reducing stormwater runoff, and harboring wildlife. Local climates are moderated from extreme sun, wind, and rain. Radiant energy from the sun is absorbed or deflected by leaves on deciduous trees in the summer and is only filtered by branches of deciduous trees in winter. The larger the tree,
the greater the cooling effect. By using trees in the cities, we can moderate the heat-island effect caused by pave- ment and buildings in commercial areas.
Wind speed and direction is affected by trees. The more compact the foliage on the tree or group of trees, the more effective the windbreak. Rainfall, sleet, and hail are absorbed or slowed by trees, providing some protection for people, pets, and buildings. Trees intercept water, store some of it, and reduce stormwater runoff.
Air quality is improved through the use of trees, shrubs, and turf. Leaves filter the air we breathe by removing dust and other particulates. Rain then washes the pollutants to the ground. Leaves absorb the green-house gas carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and store carbon as growth. Leaves also absorb other air pollutants - such as ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide - and release oxygen.
By planting trees and shrubs, we return developed areas to a more natural environment that is attractive to birds and wildlife. Ecological cycles of plant growth, reproduction, and decomposition are again present, both above and below ground. Natural harmony is restored to the urban environment.
Property values of landscaped homes are 5 to 20 percent higher than those of non-landscaped homes.
Individual trees and shrubs have value, but the variability of species, size, condition, and function makes determining their economic value difficult. The economic benefits of trees are both direct and indirect.
Direct economic benefits are usually associated with energy costs. Air-conditioning costs are lower in a tree-shaded home. Heating costs are reduced when a home has a windbreak.
Trees increase in value as they grow. Trees, as part of a well maintained landscape, can add value to your home.
The indirect economic benefits of trees within a community are even greater. Customers pay lower elec- tricity bills when power companies build fewer new facilities to meet peak demands, use reduced amounts of fossil fuel in their furnaces, and use fewer measures to control air pollution. Communities can also save money if fewer facilities must be built to control stormwater in the region. To the individual, these savings may seem small, but to the community as a whole, reductions in these expenses are often substantial.
TREES REQUIRE AN INVESTMENT
Trees provide numerous aesthetic and economic benefits, but also incur some costs. Investing in a tree’s maintenance will help to return the benefits you desire. The costs associated with large tree removal and replacement can be significant. In addition, the economic and environmental benefits produced by a young replace- ment tree are minimal when compared to those of a mature specimen. Extending the functional lifespan of large, mature trees with routine maintenance can delay these expenses and maximize returns.
An informed home owner can be responsible for many tree maintenance practices. Corrective pruning and mulching gives young trees a good start. Shade trees, how- ever, quickly grow to a size that may require the services of a professional arborist. Arborists have the knowledge and equipment needed to prune, treat, fertilize, and otherwise maintain a large tree. Your garden center owner, university extension agent, community forester, or consulting arborist can answer questions about tree maintenance, suggest treatments, or recommend qualified arborists.
Fonte: www.isa-arbor.com / www.treesaregood.org
A homeowner’s guide to planning for, assessing, and reducing possible financial losses on trees, specimen shrubs, and evergreens.
WHAT ARE YOUR TREES WORTH?
Almost everyone understands that trees and other living plants are valuable. They beautify our surroundings, purify our air, manufacture precious oxygen, act as sound barriers, and help us save energy through their cooling shade in summer and their wind reduction in winter.
Many people don’t realize, however, that plants have a dollar value of their own that can be measured by competent plant appraisers. If your trees or shrubs are damaged or destroyed, you may be able to recapture your loss through an insurance claim or as a deduction from your federal income tax.
Here is some practical advice that may help you find out what your trees and plants are worth - a process known as valuation.
PLANNING FOR HIGHEST VALUE
A professional in the tree, nursery, or landscape industry can help you plan, develop, install, and care for all of your trees and plants so that each of them will be worth more to you.
HOW YOUR TREES AND SHRUBS ARE VALUATED
Seek the advice of professionals in this industry who have developed a set of guidelines for valuation. Such guidelines have been widely adopted in the field and are recognized by insurance companies, the courts, and in some cases, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
There are several valuation methods that can be used for tree appraisal. The most appropriate method will vary based on the situation and type of loss. Using an inappropriate method can result in an appraised value that does not make logical sense and will not be accepted. This is why seeking advice from an experienced appraiser is very important.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SHUFFER LOSS OR DAMAGE TO YOUR LANDSCAPE PLANTS
A casualty loss is defined by the IRS as “... a loss resulting from an identifiable event of sudden, unexpected, or unusual nature.” This definition applies to loss resulting from events, such as vehicular accidents, storms, floods, lightning, vandalism, or even air and soil pollution.
If you suffer damage to trees or landscaping, first consult your homeowner’s insurance policy to determine the amount and type of coverage you have. Contact the insurance company to have an appraisal made by a competent tree and landscape professional who is experienced in plant appraisal. Have the appraisal made as soon as possible after your loss or damage.
The tree and landscape appraiser accomplishes many things for you. The professional can see things you might miss, help correct damage, and prescribe remedies you may be able to do yourself. The appraiser will establish the amount of your loss in financial terms, including the cost of removing debris and making repairs and replacements. All of these steps are wise investments and well worth the cost you may incur for the inspection.
FOUR POTENTIAL FACTORS IN PROFESSIONAL VALUATION OF TREES AND OTHER PLANTS
1) Size. Sometimes the size and age of a tree are such that it cannot be replaced. Trees that are too large to be replaced should be assessed by professionals who use a specialized appraisal formula.
2) Species or classification. Trees that are hardy, durable, highly adaptable, and free from objectionable characteristics are most valuable. They require less maintenance; they have sturdy, well-shaped branches, and pleasing foliage. Tree values vary according to your region, the “hardiness” zone, and even local conditions. If you are not familiar with these variables, be sure your advice comes from a competent source.
3) Condition. The professional will also consider the condition of the plant. Obviously, a healthy, well-maintained plant has a higher value. Roots, trunk, branches, and buds need to be inspected.
4) Location. Functional considerations are important. A tree in your yard may be worth more than one growing in the woods. A tree standing alone often has a higher value than one in a group. A tree near your house or one that is a focal point in your landscape tends to have greater value. The site, placement, and contribution of a tree to the overall landscape help determine the overall value of the plant attributable to location.
All of these factors may be measurable in dollars and cents. They can determine the value of a tree, specimen shrubs, or evergreens, whether for insurance purposes, court testimony in lawsuits, or tax deductions.
These steps should be taken before and after any casualty loss to your trees and landscape. Taking them can improve the value of your investment in nature’s green, growing gifts and prevent financial loss should they be damaged or destroyed.
» Plan your landscaping for both beauty and functional value.
» Protect and preserve to maintain value.
» Take pictures of trees and other landscape plants now while they are healthy and vigorous. Pictures make “before and after” compari- sons easier and expedite the processing of insurance claims or deductions for losses on federal tax forms.
» Check your insurance. In most cases, the amount of an allowable claim for any one tree or shrub is a maximum of $500 USD.
» For insurance, legal, and income tax purposes, keep accurate records of your landscape and real estate appraisals on any losses.
» Consult your local Plant Health Care professional at every stage in the life cycle of your landscape (planning, planting, care), and to make sure you do not suffer needless financial loss when a casualty strikes.
Fonte: www.isa-arbor.com / www.treesaregood.org