Trees Mediate Our Climate.
Trees can cool a city by up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by shading our homes and streets and releasing water vapor into the air through their leaves. They also reduce heat loss at night.
Trees protect us from storm damage.
Trees manage storm water runoff by retaining rain in their leaves and root systems. This prevents flooding. The fewer trees we have, the more expensive infrastructure we need to invest in. Trees break the force of wind and water and usher it above our houses. They also stabilize coastal soil and sand and prevent erosion.
Contribute to the sustainability of Amelia Island
To contribute to our sustainability in an era of sea level rise and maintain lower flood insurance rates, FEMA recommends conservation of wetlands and forested areas.
We use less energy and save money.
Using less AC and heat reduces CO2 emissions. Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30% and can save 20–50% in energy used for heating.
Trees serve as habitat for animals & plants.
Small animals and insects live in our trees, while larger animals need extensive forested land to satisfy their range needs. Both native and migratory birds find refuge and raise their offspring in our trees every year. Also, many beautiful native understory plants live below the canopy of our large shade trees.
Trees clean our air & water
Trees absorb CO2 and release oxygen. During a year, a mature tree will absorb more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Studies show that global forests removed about one-third of fossil fuel emissions annually between 1990 and 2007. Forested watersheds also provide quality drinking water for more than 180 million Americans.
Trees contribute to our economy.
Trees maintain our property values. Numerous studies have demonstrated that properties with trees on or near them have a significantly higher selling price and are on the market for significantly less time. They provide income for Amelia Island businesses by attracting visitors and residents.
Trees create positive health in humans.
Studies have demonstrated that they make a difference in promoting healing and wellness, promote psychological well being and reduce crime.
Trees create a beautiful environment.
It has always been known that trees are responsible for aesthetic pleasure as well as attract tourists, artists, retirees, and people interested in outdoor sports.
Measuring What Our Trees Do For Us
You may have seen photos of trees with signs indicating the monetary value of their contributions to the environment. How can we measure those contributions? Welcome i-Tree, a software suite initially released in 2006 that is state-of-the-art and peer-reviewed, yet provides some tools we can all use. These tools provided by the USDA Forest Service are the result of a collaborative effort involving the US Forest Service, the Arbor Day Foundation, the International Society of Arboriculture, Davey and Casey Trees. They provide urban and rural forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools. i-Tree Tools are in the public domain and are freely accessible at www.itreetools.org. i-Tree can be used with a group of trees or a single tree. An easy tool to get started with is i-Tree Design, under the dropdown menu for i-Tree Tools www.itreetools.org.
While i-Tree does not address all of the benefits of our trees, it does give us a sense of some of the quantifiable benefits of our trees.