Benefits of Trees in Communities

Scientists continue to learn how trees play a crucial role in the green infrastructure of America’s cities and towns. Trees brighten city streets and delight nature-starved urbanites. Forested neighborhoods have less crime, less pollution, reduced energy costs, and higher quality of life than similar open areas.

Explore these resources to better understand why it’s important to establish, expand, or maintain existing trees and greenspace in your community.

Explore more about the benefits of trees on this Trees are Good website and with the other resources below.

Trees in Communities

See how communities across the Commonwealth (and the nation) are successfully growing their urban tree canopy and reaping the benefits of community forests. You can log your own tree planting projects in our My Trees Count application to make sure your trees count!

Bring Trees to Your Community

Despite the many known benefits of trees, municipalities are losing their trees at an alarming rate, estimated at four million trees annually nationwide (Nowak 2010). As populations rise in urban areas, there is increased pressure to convert land to accommodate both commercial and residential development. Cities are also losing older, established trees from the cumulative impacts of land development, storms, diseases, old age, and other factors (Nowak and Greenfield 2012).

Additional Resources

These resources can help you establish or expand your own community forest efforts – reverse the trend of tree loss in our cities!

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.


Contact Us

For more information or questions, e-mail us or use our contact form.


Nowak, D.J., Greenfield, E.J. 2010. Evaluating The National Land Cover Database Tree Canopy and Impervious Cover Estimates Across the Conterminous United States: A Comparison with Photo-Interpreted Estimates. Environmental Management 46:378–390

Nowak, D.J., Greenfield, E.J. 2012. Tree and impervious cover change in U.S. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 11(1):21-30