They help clean our air, stabilize our weather, keep water flowing properly and much more. These environmental benefits lead to a better quality of life for Georgians.

Cleaner, Cooler Air

  • Trees trap lung-damaging dust, ash, pollen and smoke from the air.
  • Shade from trees reduces temperatures and helps keep air pollutants from becoming even more volatile.
  • Most importantly, trees produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. Studies show one acre of trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people every day.
  • According to American Forests, the forests in Atlanta remove about 19 million pounds of air pollutants each year, worth about $47 million a year.
  • Trees absorb and store an annual average of 13 pounds of carbon each year. Community trees across the United States store 6.5 million tons of carbon per year, resulting in a savings of $22 billion in control costs.

Stable Weather

Research demonstrates that urban heat islands change weather patterns. This can alter the amount and duration of local and downwind rainfall patterns. Urban trees lessen the impact of the urban heat island effect and reduce changes in weather patterns.

Water Flow

Trees act as natural water filters and help significantly slow the movement of stormwater. This lowers total runoff volume, soil erosion and flooding.

  • Infiltration rates for forested areas are 10-15 times greater than for equivalent areas of turf and grass.
  • During a heavy rain, a healthy forest can absorb as much as 20,000 gallons of water in an hour.
  • This important function of trees and canopy cover allows communities to spend less money developing additional stormwater management infrastructure.
  • Many municipalities are now charging businesses and homeowners a stormwater utility fee based on the amount of impervious surface at their location.

Helpful Resources

Review studies, reports and more to learn more about the benefits of trees.

TitleDescriptionDocument Type
Cleaning our Air Fact SheetDid you know that Georgia’s 22 million acres of working forests provide clean air for you to breathe every day? Download fact sheet to learn more.PDF
Conserving Habitat for Georgia’s Wildlife Fact SheetGeorgia is one of the most biologically diverse states in the nation, and working forests play a big role ensuring healthy wildlife habitats. Download fact sheet to learn more.PDF
Green Cities: Active LivingRecent research indicates that quality outdoor environments affect activity attitudes and behaviors. Urban greening contributes to more walkable places.External Website
Green Cities: Crime & Public SafetyThis briefing summarizes the research findings on the relationship between urban vegetation and crimes, aggressive behavior, and safety.
Green Cities: Good HealthMetro nature - including trees, parks, gardens, and natural areas - enhance quality of life in cities and towns. The experience of nature improves human health and well-being in many ways. review these scientific studies that tell us how.External Website
Green Cities: Mental Health & FunctionBoth visual access and being within green space helps to restore the mind’s ability to focus. This can improve job and school performance, and help alleviate mental stress and illness.External Website
Green Cities: Place Attachment & MeaningPlace attachment and meaning are particularly relevant when considering issues of urban development and community-building. Attachment and meaning emerge from a variety of experiences and situations, and are often related to parks, green spaces, and natural areas. Learn more with this brief summary.External Website
Green Cities: Reduced RiskTrees and vegetation can dampen ambient noise, improve air quality, cool over-heated urban centers, and be a food security solution.External Website
Green Cities: Safe Streetshis article surveys the research on roadside vegetation benefits, and the scientific evidence concerning city trees, and transportation safety.External Website
Green Cities: Social & Cultural StrengthsUrban green spaces can provide a neutral space within which people come together, social interactions occur (that include people from different backgrounds), and relationships or partnerships take form. Read this briefing for research studies.External Website
Green Cities: Work & LearningPlaces that incorporate or are located near nature can help remedy mental fatigue and restore one’s ability to focus on tasks. The result can be better performance in the work place and classroom. External Website
Green Local EconomiesRad this article to learn about economic benefits of trees in cities.External Website
Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives ResearchTake care of the forest, and it will take care of you. As research is being conducted and becoming available, findings reinforce what much of the urban forestry community already knows — that trees have a positive impact on human health. Check out research on why Healthy Trees make Healthy Lives.External Website
i-Tree StreetsWithin the i-Tree software suite, street tree populations are assessed using i-Tree Streets, which is an analysis tool for urban forest managers that uses tree inventory data to quantify the dollar value of annual environmental and aesthetic benefits.External Website
Nature’s Water Filter Fact SheetDid you know working forests are the most significant factor affecting water quality and quantity in Georgia? Download fact sheet to learn more.PDF
Tree Benefits CalculatorThe Tree Benefit Calculator allows anyone to make a simple estimation of the benefits individual street-side trees provide.External Website
Vibrant Cities LabCase Studies, Research Guides and Tools to help cultivate thriving urban forests that boost public health, safety, sustainability and economic growth.External Website