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Cape Gazette: Read why local realtor Bill Cullen thinks trees are important to his business: Trees Improve Energy Efficiency

Cape Gazette: New arborist takes over in Rehoboth, City planning for public discussion of tree ordinance


Cape Gazette Editorial, Jan 27, 2015

Trees have a public value that must be recognized

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States, so reversing heart disease will save lives. Beebe Healthcare’s new Dr. Dean Ornish program, coming to Beebe’s Route 24 campus, emphasizes that along with diet and emotional support, it is essential for good health to reduce stress through moderate exercise and techniques such as meditation.

With the ocean at our doorstep, nearly all of us have access to a calming stroll along the beach to reduce stress, reduce heart disease and improve our health.

In an interesting parallel, the International Society of Arboriculture has found we don’t have to walk along the shoreline: Trees help people reduce stress.

Studies show people who live in communities with trees tend to get out and exercise more, and people who use public parks and open spaces are three times more likely to reach recommended levels of physical activity than those who don’t.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture adds that studies show just 100 trees remove 53 tons of carbon dioxide and 430 pounds of other air pollutants from the environment each year.

Rehoboth Beach has led the way in establishing a tree ordinance that encourages homeowners to preserve existing trees and plant new ones on their properties. Given the value of trees in cleaning up the air we breathe and in reducing stress, other communities and Sussex County should follow suit.

It’s time to put a price tag on the value of trees and to establish ordinances that encourage homeowners and developers to preserve trees when possible and plant new ones to offset trees that have to come down.

A “tree tax” could be established in cases where numerous trees are removed, with the funds used to purchase open land for the public parks and open spaces that studies show promote good health.

Trees remove pollution from the air, and they encourage us to get outside. They promote healthy exercise and reduce stress, reducing medical costs while improving our quality of life.

Trees don’t just look beautiful. Trees have a public value, and it’s time to recognize it.

From the scientific literature:

Exploring the Relationship Between Trees and Human Stress in the Urban Environment.

  • Source: Arboriculture & Urban Forestry . May2016, Vol. 42 Issue 3, p146-159. 14p. 
  • Author(s): Townsend, Joseph B.; Ilvento, Thomas W.; Barton, Susan S.
  • Abstract:The research literature describes a positive relationship between seeing plants and human well-being. More rapid recovery from surgery, reduced incidence of neighborhood crime, increased baby birth weight, and increased trust of neighborhood merchants are among the benefits attributed to exposure to trees and shrubs. This study attempted to find a common explanation for these outcomes. It examined the connection between urban trees and neighborhood stress. Each of the stated outcomes can be attributed, in part, to stress reduction. The literature indicated that stress reduction is one of the consequences of exposure to plants. Stress levels were measured at the block level in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., by means of a survey mailed to 2,704 residents. Physical conditions were catalogued using an on-site inventory. The survey and inventory demonstrated that the total number of trees on a block has a strong negative relationship with neighborhood stress and a positive relationship with self-reported health. The results suggest that moderation of stress is one of the factors that underlies the beneficial consequences of exposure to green vegetation on inner-city blocks. This research should prove useful to city planners and urban residents alike.
  • Copyright of Arboriculture & Urban Forestry is the property of International Society of Arboriculture