Go to navigation
So what do trees do for us?
Trees are so integrated into daily life that it is easy to
forget the whole variety of benefits that they provide. This is a
short list of some of the most important.
Trees provide useful products
This is the most obvious and direct benefit that trees can
provide. Even in towns, trees provide traditional products such as
timber and fruit as well as new products, including wood chip mulch
and renewable fuel. The chemical extracted from yew trees provides
the chemotherapy drug Taxol.
Trees are good for wildlife
A mature oak tree can provide support for over 460 different
species of insects, birds and mammals in shelters and hollows, as
well as fruit, flowers and foliage that attract a huge variety of
birds and insects.
Trees provide shade and shelter
With an increasing awareness of the problems of over-exposure to
the summer sun, trees can provide a seasonal barrier to harmful
ultraviolet radiation creating areas of dappled shade where people can escape from the famous
heat of the British summer.
The evaporation of moisture from leaves acts to cool the
surrounding air. One mature oak tree will absorb over ten times the
energy emitted by a 1KW electric fire.
Trees create a local distinctiveness
Trees help to soften and frame buildings and developments,
creating green spaces within the most built-up urban environments.
Streets well populated with trees look far more attractive than
those completely devoid of vegetation.
Trees can reduce noise in urban environments
Noise pollution can drastically affect the quality of life.
Trees can help by providing a dense physical barrier. Noise levels
can be reduced by between six and eight decibels for every 30m of
tree cover. This form of noise barrier
is often cheaper and more effective than fences, as well as
providing additional benefits.
Trees can help strengthen communities
Trees can provide an opportunity for people to work together by
volunteering to help with tree planting
or woodland maintenance schemes. Communities can create and enhance
areas that can be used for the benefit and enjoyment of
Trees can keep the ground stable
On sloping sites, tree roots act to prevent erosion and
stabilise the soil. Over time, decaying wood and leaves will enrich
Trees help with cleaning the environment
With the increasingly frequent cases of asthma, especially in
children, the benefits trees provide in cleaning the air should not
be underestimated. The canopies of trees act as a physical filter,
absorbing harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide
and sulphur dioxide. Trees have also been shown to be very
effective at trapping fine dusts and toxic particles, the trapped
dust being washed to the ground by rain.
Trees can improve the local economy
There are many small and some large businesses within Medway
that depend on trees both directly and indirectly. Orchards, garden
centres and local tree surgeons all provide useful services and can
encourage the responsible management of trees.