Urban Forest and Tree Management

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Benefits of an Urban Forest

The Town of Slave Lake’s tree population is one of the many assets that make this a wonderful place to live!  An urban forest can be defined as all of the vegetation growing in a municipality, whether it resides on public or private lands. It is often difficult to assess the true value of an urban forest. Monetary value can be calculated based on models of an average neighbourhood; however, these measurements only express a part of an urban forest's true value. There are many intangible benefits of a healthy urban forest.

Environmental:

Vegetation improves urban air quality by removing and storing tons of carbon dioxide annually. This process is called carbon sequestering.

Vegetation captures atmospheric particulates; evergreen trees are the most effective due to their dense structure and year round growth cycle.

Vegetation moderates the urban heat island effect and increases the relative humidity of urban air.

Our urban forest provides food and habitat for all types of local animal life, along with providing fruits and berries that people also enjoy.

Social:

Green environments reduce stress and provide opportunities for leisure and recreation which improve citizens' overall health and wellness, thereby resulting in reduced health care costs.

Urban forests can also bring communities of people together and form connections between humans and the urban flora and fauna.

Economic:

Vegetation and the soil it grows in hold large quantities of water, reducing the amount of water a municipal storm system needs to accommodate.

Vegetation reduces energy consumption by shading buildings in summer and slowing heat-stealing wind in winter.

Attractive trees and shrubs increase the value and marketability of homes and other real estate and attracts new businesses to communities.

Personal:

Act as a visual and dust barrier between housing and highways.

Shrubs act as "natural fencing." For example, hedges provide directional guidance, visual contouring and aesthetics.

Studies show that people plant trees in their yard for shade and appearance more so than for energy savings, environmental benefits or privacy.

When residents of mature neighbourhoods are asked to list the most important feature of their neighbourhood, they usually cite mature neighbourhood trees instead of the wide roads or nice sidewalks.