Planting billions of trees across the world is the biggest way we can tackle the climate crisis. In fact, a recent study has shown that tree planting has a ‘mind-blowing potential’ to tackle climate change. Planting trees is also cheap!
Trees absorb carbon emissions as they grow by capturing CO2 from the atmosphere. Forests across the world act as carbon sinks, locking up carbon dioxide. In fact, woodlands in the UK alone remove 10 million tonnes of carbon from the air each year.
Trees in cities
For the first time in history, more people live in urban areas than in the countryside. Worldwide, the figure is 55%. While rainforests and mass woodlands remain hugely important, we’re going to have to bring more trees into our urban areas if this city-dwelling trend is going to be sustainable.
Here are just a few of the benefits of planting trees in urban areas. Trees can:
- Remove carbon dioxide from the air
Trees capture carbon from the atmosphere. Trees already store up to 25% of the world’s carbon, and a single mature tree can absorb up to 150kg of CO2 each year. 
- Reduce our energy usage
Trees placed strategically around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs in summer and heating needs in winter, reduce energy usage by around 30%. This in turn “reduces emissions associated with electric power production”. 
- Contribute to economic regeneration
Trees and green space in general can improve the image of an area or city. “build the confidence and pride of communities” which in turn can make these areas “attractive places for households and businesses to invest and locate in”. 
- Generate oxygen
Trees release huge quantities of oxygen into the atmosphere as a by-product of photosynthesis.
- Cool our cities
As our planet gets hotter trees are increasingly useful to help cool the air. Placing trees in urban areas can cool the air by between 2°C and 8°C via a combination of shade and transpiration. 
- Reduce flooding risk
Mature trees absorb water and can even help reduce the amount of pollution reaching our rivers. Their roots also prevent soil erosion. 
- Reduce noise pollution
Trees can reduce noise pollution in our busy cities. In fact, noise can be reduced “by five to ten decibels for every 30m width of woodland, especially sharp tones, and this reduces noise to the human ear by approximately 50%”. 
- Help remove pollutants
If properly managed, planting trees can capture harmful pollutants and fine particulate matter by absorbing them and by trapping them on their leaves and bark. 
- Increase mental and physical wellbeing
Being around trees lowers blood pressure and stress, whilst being nearby to greenery promotes getting out into nature and physical activity. 
- Boost biodiversity
Trees provide habitat both to animals and other plants, boosting biodiversity within our cities.
- Increase house prices
Landscaping, especially with trees, can increase property values by up to 15%.