Ten benefits of trees in the city

Last updated July 28, 2022
Reading time: 2 min

Trees reduce city noise, purify the air we breath and give us shade, coolness and privacy. But that’s not all! Did you know that they benefit us in so many other ways?

Here are 10 reasons why planting more trees makes for a more pleasant living environment.

Health benefits

1- Parks and green spaces contribute to our wellness by offering us spaces for fresh air and physical activity. Trees also benefit our mental health. Being in nature calms us down and reduces our stress levels, which puts us in a better mood. It also helps us think more clearly, concentrate better and have more energy. (Source: Institut national de la santé publique du Québec)

2- Trees produce oxygen. A mature tree can provide the daily oxygen ratio for four people. (Source: Trees Canada)

3- Montréal’s urban forest absorbs impressive quantities of atmospheric pollutants and filters out fine particles, which gives us better air quality as well as better cardiovascular and respiratory health. It is estimated that some $31.4 million is saved each year in health care and avoiding premature deaths. (Source: Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. Nowak et al., 2018).

Benefits for the environment

4- Trees play an essential role in the fight against climate change. They capture 25 per cent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) that causes global warming. They also help reduce heat islands, protect us from high winds and reduce the risks of flooding. (Source:  Natural Resources Canada) Around 500 mature trees are needed to sequester the CO2 emissions generated by a car travelling 20,000 km/year. (Source: Trees Canada)

5- Trees attenuate runoff from heavy rains and reduce the risks of rain sewer overflow. They reduce surface water pollution, improving river and lake water quality, which consequently reduces the costs of water treatment at the plant. This results in more than annual savings of more than four per cent on Montréal’s water treatment costs — some $16 million annually. (Source: TD Friends of the Environment Foundation)

6- Wooded spaces are home to a diverse array of plants and animals, who wouldn’t exist there without the 1,200,000 trees in Montréal’s urban forest.

7- They cool surrounding air by creating shade and releasing water from the ground into the air in the form of water vapour. In the summertime, a mature tree can absorb up to 380 litres of water from the ground in a single day. (Source: N.C. State University).

Save money and improve your quality of life

8- Wooded spaces reduce sound pollution. A bank of trees and plants that is 30 m long and 15 m high reduces noise by six to eight decibels, which corresponds to a 30 to 40 per cent reduction. The rustle of the leaves, along with the song of birds nesting in the trees, also help to mask city noise. (Source: Société de l’arbre du Québec. 1998)

9- They help make homes, neighbourhoods, parks and cities more beautiful. A house that has trees and is similar to another house in the same neighbourhood with no trees will sell more quickly. Trees raise residential property values from 10 to 18 per cent (Source: U.S. Forest Service).

10- Deciduous trees that are strategically placed near homes can reduce the need for air conditioning from 15 to 30 per cent because of the shade they offer. They can also boost energy savings on heat by as much as 15 per cent because they let light through. (Source: Trees Canada).

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