Trees, Woodlands and Forests. A guide for developers and planners Northwest Regional Forestry Framework
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Benefits of Trees

For a long time, trees have been recognised as an important part of the natural landscape. However in recent years, the benefits of well planned tree and woodland planting in urban and peri-urban areas have been widely acknowledged.

Image, investment and customer behaviour

Image is an important factor in attracting inward investment. Both established trees and new planting within a development can transform a setting, and make it more attractive to new business. Trees can also encourage companies to stay in a location for longer, as they recognise the business benefits of working within a well-greened, attractive environment. The first of these benefits is the positive impact on consumer behaviour. Studies have shown customers will routinely pay more for parking and services when visiting a landscaped business district (as opposed to a non-landscaped district). Businesses in well-landscaped developments also provide healthier and less stressful environments for their employees (important for staff retention). They may also recognise a reduction in their energy use; trees can save up to 10% of energy consumption through their moderation of the local climate.

Trees also have a positive effect on property values. Housing developments that have trees and woodlands close are valued at between 5% and 18% more than houses without trees. Trees can provide a competitive edge in terms of marketing property too. Trees contribute to the achievement of BREEAM and CSH standards, which in turn can be used as a sales tool.

Transforming and strengthening communities

Well greened residential environments encourage a sense of local pride and ownership that is crucial to create healthy and thriving communities. Improving the visual image of an area can tackle negative perceptions and can kick-start other, deeper-reaching community activity. Trees in urban and residential areas can also have a positive impact on the physical and mental health of local people. Air quality is improved, noise pollution is reduced and people are encouraged outside to pursue healthy activity in local areas of well-managed woodland and green space.

Improving environments for people and wildlife

Trees provide an important wildlife habitat in both the rural and urban setting. As well as acting individually as a home to a wide range of birds, insect and animal life, trees and woodlands that are well planned can form a ‘green network’, connecting built developments to natural landscapes. This ‘green infrastructure’ also helps to realise the greater, collective value of individual areas of green space.

Trees and woodlands also play a major role in reducing carbon in our atmosphere. Their ability to absorb carbon dioxide is already well recognised, and the use of wood as a carbon neutral source of fuel can also play an important role in tackling climate change.

Trees and woodlands are a cost effective method of reducing localised flooding. They absorb heavily rainfall, slow run off and lessen the likelihood of flash flooding. Studies have shown that for ever 5% increase in tree coverage, run off is reduced by 2%, making tree planting a self sustaining element of storm water management strategies.