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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 Photo of two applesprovide. 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.

Photo of a squirrel

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.Photo of a van on a road

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 everyone.

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 the soil.

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.