Benefits of Trees

Trees in Forests

Forests are well known for providing a renewable source of wood products. Some products come from the trees themselves, while others, like mushrooms or medicinal herbs, come from the forested environment. In addition to lumber, paper, and a host of other products, forests provide benefits called “ecosystem services”, including:

  • filtering air to improve air quality
  • preventing soil erosion
  • supplying places for outdoor recreation
  • providing wildlife and pollinator habitat
  • sequestering and storing carbon
  • protecting water quality
  • offering scenic beauty

Trees in Cities and Towns

Trees in urban areas and yards have value, too. Neighborhoods with lots of trees have lower crime rates, less air pollution, lower energy costs, and higher property values than those without trees. Walking among trees can improve health, and even viewing trees through a window can speed patient recovery times.

Read more about the benefits of trees in communities.

Read more about healthy trees healthy lives.

Trees in Riparian Areas

Trees in riparian, or streamside, zones provide special ecosystem benefits, including:

  • filtering runoff to remove pesticides, fertilizer, and other chemicals
  • preventing streambank erosion and keeping sediment out of the stream
  • shading streams to keep them cool for aquatic organisms
  • dropping organic matter that serves as food and microhabitat for aquatic organisms
  • absorbing excess water during storm events and releasing it slowly, reducing flood potential

Read more about the benefits of streamside forests.

Additional Resources

ImageTitleIDDescriptionContent Typehf:tax:document-categoryhf:tax:Media
Forests: Providers of Ecosystem Services
Forests: Providers of Ecosystem ServicesP00142

Brochure provides insight into the other ecosystem benefits that forests provide, such as carbon sequestration, water quality, wetland and species mitigation banking. Printed copies available.

From Trees to Products - We Depend on Trees for Many Everyday Products
From Trees to Products – We Depend on Trees for Many Everyday ProductsFT0034

Forestry topic information sheet provides information about the products we get from trees, including solid wood products, wood pulp products and products from other tree parts.

Healthy Trees Healthy Lives Resources
Healthy Trees Healthy Lives Resources

Many resources are available through this website, a cooperative effort of the Southern Group of State Foresters, Western Forestry Leadership Coalition, and the Northeast Midwest State Foresters Alliance to educate about the connection of trees, forests, and health.

Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives
Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives

Presentation prepared by the Southern Group of State Foresters highlights the reasons trees contribute to healthy lives. (Warning – large file)

My Trees Count
My Trees Count

Every tree planted makes a difference to the health of our communities and the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The VDOF and partners want to highlight tree planting projects from across the state. Submit your tree planting to show that your trees count!

Riparian Forest Buffers - Forests on the Water's Edge
Riparian Forest Buffers – Forests on the Water’s EdgeP00140

Publication is the effort of the Chesapeake Bay Program, including multiple states within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, to educate the community leaders and the public about the benefits of riparian forest Buffers, their importance to watersheds for air quality, water quality and fish and wildlife habitat, forest Buffer losses and how we manage growth in riparian zones, how to maintain quality riparian forest Buffers, efforts in riparian forest restoration, and what you can do for forest Buffers. Printed copies available.

The Benefits of Trees!
The Benefits of Trees!PST006

Poster educates the public about the benefits of trees – human health, improved water quality, energy savings, reducing heat, and providing local wood sources. Printed copies available.

Valuing Virginia's Forests - Ecosystem Benefits Provided by Our Forests
Valuing Virginia’s Forests – Ecosystem Benefits Provided by Our ForestsFT0005

Forestry topic information sheet provides a brief overview of the indirect benefits, such as ecosystem services, that we derive from our forests. Printed copies available.