Why Trees?

Learn about the benefits of urban trees

Trees improve the quality of the air we breathe.

Trees remove carbon dioxide from the air by sequestration.

Trees filter air pollutants, including ozone and particulates.

Trees produce life-supporting oxygen.

This recent study from the US Forest Service Northern Research Station suggests that trees’ improvements to air quality help humans avoid more than 850 deaths and more than 670,000 instances of acute respiratory symptoms in a given year!

Trees help Californians store, clean, process, and save water.

Trees help keep our waterways clean by reducing stormwater run-off and soil erosion.

Trees filter chemicals and other pollutants from water and soil.

Trees intercept rainfall, which protects against flash flooding and recharges groundwater supplies.

Trees need less water than lawns, and the moisture they release into the air can significantly reduce the water requirements of other landscape plants.

Trees conserve energy, making our buildings, systems, and properties more efficient.

Trees mitigate urban heat island effects by providing shading.

Trees provide shade, moisture and windbreaks, decreasing the amount of energy needed to cool and heat our homes and offices.

Trees improve mental and physical health for people at every age.

Click here see report from USDA about the health benefits of urban nature.

Trees create a desirable environment for outdoor physical activity and encourage active lifestyles.

Trees reduce symptoms or incidence of attention deficit and hypertension disorder (ADHD), asthma, and stress.

Trees reduce exposure to UV radiation, thus reducing the risk of skin cancer.

Tree views can speed the recovery time for patients recovering from medical procedures.

Trees produce fruit and nuts to contribute to healthy diets.

Trees create a setting for neighbors to interact, strengthen social ties and create more peaceful and less violent communities.

Trees contribute to the overall physical, mental, and social well-being of individuals and communities.

Check out the Green Cities: Good Health website for a comprehensive collection on studies showing the connection between trees and human health.

Trees create employment opportunities for people to start, develop, and succeed in their careers — making California’s cities and towns better places to live, work, and play.

    • There are more than 50 million sites available for planting new trees and approximately 180 million trees in need of care in California’s cities and towns. With plenty of work to be done, California can continue job creation and economic growth by investing in urban and community forests today.


    • Urban forestry projects provide critical training to young adults and at-risk youth along with opportunities in the public works sector. Additionally, urban forestry care and management create both public and private sector jobs while also creating a healthier, cleaner, and more livable environment for decades to come.





  • Learn how California ReLeaf helped create more than 300 jobs and contribute well over 200,000 hours to California’s work force during a time of economic stimulus — read the short story or the long story of our work with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009


“Urban Forests are critical to changing the quality of environmental health in our communities; our approach promotes restoration and environmental stewardship.” — Kemba Shakur, Urban ReLeaf Executive Director

“We are taking youth that are on the fringe of being employable, at-risk youth, and giving them training. At the same time they are required to complete their diploma, which makes them competitive in the job market.” — Nathan Higgins, CSET Project Manager

Trees make our communities safer, more valuable, and more fun to be a part of.

Tree planting, care and management generate jobs in both the public and private sectors.

Trees can increase the value of residential property by 10% or more.

Trees can boost business and tourism in commercial areas by providing shadier and more inviting walkways and parking lots.

Trees attract new businesses and residents.

Trees cut costs for heating and cooling and landscape water.

Trees are powerful and do so much for our families, neighborhoods, and the world.

Click here for the 2-page PDF of the flyer below

  1. Nowak, David, Robert Hoehn III, Daniel, Crane, Jack Stevens and Jeffrey Walton. “Assessing Urban Forest Effects and Values Washington, D.C.’s Urban Forest.” USDA Forest Service. (2006). Web. <http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/rb/nrs_rb001.pdf>
  2. Ulrich, Roger S. “The Value of Trees to a Community” Arbor Day Foundation. Web. 27 June 2011. <http://www.arborday.org/trees/benefits.cfm>.
  3. McPherson, Gregory, James Simpson, Paula Peper, Shelley Gardner, Kelaine Vargas, Scott Maco, and Qingfu Xiao. “Coastal Plain Community Tree Guide: Benefits, Costs, and Strategic Planting”. USDA, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. (2006). Web. <http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/programs/uesd/uep/products/2/cufr_679_gtr201_coastal_tree_guide.
  4. Anderson, L.M., and H.K. Cordell. “Influence of Trees on Residential Property Values in Athens, Georgia (U.S.A.): A Survey Based on Actual Sales Prices.” Landscape and Urban Planning 15.1-2 (1988): 153-64. Web. <http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/ja/ja_anderson003.pdf>.
  5. University of Washington, College of Forest Resources. Urban Forest Values: Economic Benefits of Trees in Cities. Rep. Center for Human Horticulture, 1998. Web. <http://www.cfr.washington.edu/research/factSheets/29-UrbEconBen.pdf>.
  6. NJ Forest Service. “Benefits of trees: trees enrich the health and quality of our environment”. NJ Department of Environmental Protection. Web. <http://www.state.nj.us/dep/seeds/docs/bot.pdf>
  7. Dixon, Karin K., and Kathleen L. Wolf. “Benefits and Risks of Urban Roadside Landscape: Finding a Livable, Balanced Response.” 3rd Urban Street Symposium, Seattle, Washington. 2007. Web. <http://www.urbanstreet.info/3rd_symp_proceedings/Benefits%20and%20Risks.pdf>.
  8. McPherson, Gegory, and Jules Muchnick. “Effects of Street Tree Shade on Asphalt and Concrete Pavement Performance.” Journal of Arboriculture 31.6 (2005): 303-10. Web. <http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/mcpherson/psw_2005_mcpherson001_joa_1105.pdf>.
  9. Fazio, Dr. James R. “How Trees Can Retain Stormwater Runoff.” Tree City USA Bulletin 55. Arbor Day Foundation. Web. <http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/programs/uesd/uep/products/11/800TreeCityUSABulletin_55.pdf>.
  10. Kuo, Frances, and William Sullivan. “Environment and Crime in the Inner City: Does Vegetation Reduce Crime?” Environment and Behavior 33.3 (2001). Web. <http://www.outdoorfoundation.org/pdf/EnvironmentAndCrime.pdf>
  11. Mok, Jeong-Hun, Harlow C. Landphair, and Jody R. Naderi. “Landscape Improvement Impacts on Roadside Safety in Texas.” Landscape and Urban Planning 78.3 (2006): 263-74. Web. <http://www.naturewithin.info/Roadside/RdsdSftyTexas_L&UP.pdf>.
  12. Taylor, Andrea, Frances Kuo, and Williams Sullivan. “Coping with ADD the Surprising Connection to Green Play Settings.” Environment and Behavior (2001). Web. <http://www.outdoorfoundation.org/pdf/CopingWithADD.pdf>.