Importance of Trees

Three cheers to The Times for recognizing the importance of trees to our cities. "A Bad Times for Trees" (editorial, Nov. 14) outlined the importance of trees and the problems cities face with declining budgets--chopping funds dedicated to tree planting and maintenance. Trees are only one dimension of the urban forests; plants, lawns and shrubs also play a major role in a healthy environment. As everyone fights for his piece of the budget pie, it is important to remember the benefits of green landscaping, our only mitigation for urbanization:

--Landscaping helps our environment by cleaning and cooling the air. Landscaping traps about 12 million tons of dust and dirt released annually into the atmosphere. An average front lawn has the cooling effect of 10 tons of air conditioning and produces enough oxygen for a family of four, year-round.

--Landscaping cuts utility bills. In the summer, proper landscaping saves up to 40% of a home's energy costs by soaking up heat, providing shade and releasing moisture into the air.

--Landscaping prevents urban "heat islands" where pavement, sidewalks and buildings reflect and intensify the sun's heat, which makes smog worse.

--Landscaping significantly reduces noise pollution.

--Landscaping reduces the danger of fire to a home.

The Council for a Green Environment, of which I am a member, works to educate Californians about the importance of a green environment for our urban world.



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