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Copyright statement: 2019 The Authors, Plants, People, Planet © New Phytologist Trust

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Cavender, Nicole
Turner-Skoff, Jessica

The benefits of trees for livable and sustainable communities

Digitization Status
Born digital
Date created
We live in an era influenced by humans to the point that the Earth's systems are now altered. In addition, a majority of the world's population live in cities. To meet the needs of people in a changing world, The United Nations General Assembly created the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) to improve the quality of life for people. These broad goals outline the greatest challenges of our time. An effective strategy to assist in meeting these goals is to plant and protect trees, especially in cities where the majority of people live. This paper serves as a critical review of the benefits of trees. Trees promote health and social well‐being by removing air pollution, reducing stress, encouraging physical activity, and promoting social ties and community. Children with views of trees are more likely to succeed in school. Trees promote a strong economy and can provide numerous resources to the people that need them. While cities are getting hotter, trees can reduce urban temperatures. They provide habitat and food for animals. Finally, trees are valuable green infrastructure to manage stormwater. Money spent on urban forestry has a high return on investment. As we navigate this human‐dominated era, we need skilled people who understand the nuances of the built environment and trees as we strategically plan the cities of the future. The overwhelming evidence from the scientific literature suggests that investing in trees is an investment in meeting the UN SDG, and ultimately an investment for a better world.
Volume, Page Number
2019, 1–13