Ten Ways Trees make a big difference

Aussies are busy getting their hands dirty and reconnecting with nature to celebrate the largest tree-planting event in the country – National Tree Day. Since the inception of the event in 1996, it’s estimated that four million people have helped plant 24 million trees and plants.

Tree day is an opportunity to do something positive for the local environment and celebrate the vital role that trees play in all our lives. Planting one tree can make a big difference. Here are ten proven ways that trees positively contribute to keeping the planet and humans, healthy and happy.

1. Reduce Noise Pollution
Trees do a fantastic job at absorbing and muffling urban noise. Strategically planted trees in a neighbourhood or just around a home can decrease noise. A properly-designed buffer of trees and shrubs can reduce noise by about 50 per cent as perceived by the human ear.

2. Soil Purification
Trees and their roots absorb and change dangerous chemicals and pollutants that enter the ground. Trees can filter sewage and hard chemicals and reduce the effects of animal waste leading to cleaner water run-off to our rivers and streams.

3. Cooling Cities
In the summer months, trees cool cities by shading homes and streets. They also reduce wind speeds and release water vapour into the air through their leaves which has a cooling effect.

4. Habitat for Wildlife
Trees are the longest living species on earth, and during their lifecycle, they provide a shelter and food for hundreds of different species.

5. Reduce Storm-water run-off
Tree roots penetrate deep into the ground loosening the soil and making it easier for water to permeate downwards. This underground water-holding dramatically reduces the effects of flash flooding.

6. Combat the Greenhouse Effect
Trees absorb carbon dioxide, locking it away in their wood, roots and leaves as they grow. The carbon that they store in their wood helps combat the greenhouse effect and slow the rate of global warming.

7. Improve Water Quality
Trees improve water quality by filtering particles that would otherwise end up in sewers and, eventually, rivers and lakes.

8. Health Benefits
The presence of trees encourages us to be more physically active, their shade protects us from skin cancer and walking amongst them helps alleviate stress.

9. Improve Air Quality
Known as the lungs of the earth, trees improve the quality of the air we breathe. Their canopies act as a physical filter, trapping dust and absorbing pollutants from the air. Additionally, like all green plants, trees produce oxygen for us to breathe!

10. Prevent Soil Erosion
Trees, more than any other vegetation, can limit soil erosion. Their canopy breaks the force of wind and rain on the earth while their roots bind the soil. Tree planting projects work to conserve rainwater, reduce water run-off and sediment deposit during and after storms and flooding events.

These are just ten of the many benefits of trees, and that is why everyday is tree day at Fitzroy Basin Association. As outlined in the points above, trees are an integral part of safeguarding the region’s natural assets and therefore crucial to many of our projects. Just one example is the Mount Etna reforestation project which involved an army of volunteers planting 5,000 trees, shrubs and vines which will improve the foraging habitat for the vulnerably listed Ghost Bat.