Plants and trees; What environment restoration means to you?

Fact: trees can reduce building energy demand for heating and cooling by providing shade in the summer and blocking wind in the winter. Multiply trees on a site can save in annual energy costs

Reasons to plant trees:

  • Trees replenish our oxygen, filter out air pollution and contribute to better mental health and well-being.
  • Trees are vital for water we drink help cool our cities and towns, and are home to many species of plants, birds, and wildlife.
  • Scientific research shows that forests and green spaces lead to significant declines in stress, improved rehabilitation, faster hospital recovery rates and decreases in the severity of symptoms in attention deficit disorders.
  • Trees sequester (trap) carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. They do this during photosynthesis to form carbohydrates that are used in plant structure/ function and return oxygen back to the atmosphere as a byproduct.

Deciduous and evergreen. What’s the difference?

Deciduous trees like maple trees block solar heat in the summer, and let sunlight in during the winter.

Evergreen provides continuous shade.

In a year one tree…

  • Cools like 10 air conditioners running continually.
  • Absorbs 750 gallons of stormwater
  • Filters 60 pounds of pollutants from the air.

There are about 60-200 million spaces along our city streets where trees could be planted. This translates into the potential to absorb 33 million more tons of CO2 every year and saving $4 billion in energy costs.

Reasons for stormwater ponds

  • Retention ponds bring both stormwater quantity and quality benefits. These ponds fill with stormwater and release most of it over a period of a few days, slowly returning to its normal depth of water. Some stormwater infiltrates underlying soils, and some are evaporated. This process marks a small reduction in stormwater quantity.
  • Retention ponds provide stormwater quality benefits through several mechanisms, including:
  • Gravitational settling of suspended particulates;
  • Biological uptake of pollutants by plants, algae, and bacteria; and
  • Decomposition of some pollutants

Constructed wetlands

Wetlands have been widely regarded as providing important natural ecosystem functions, such as flood control, water purification and habitat for wildlife and aquatic organisms. Over the past 15 years, constructed wetlands have become one of the most common practices employed for stormwater control in Ontario. The vast majority of these are surface flow wetlands, with similar objectives to stormwater ponds

The benefits of functioning ecosystems

Functioning ecosystems provide an immense number of ecosystem services, which are relied on by all components within the web of life, including humans. Sometimes referred to as the planet’s “life support systems” these ecosystem services comprise tangible goods and services such as clean water, timber, wild food, pollination, flood control and carbon sequestration as well as cultural, spiritual, recreational and health benefits.

Green infrastructure is defined as natural vegetation and vegetative technologies that collectively provide society with a broad array of products and services for healthy living.

Green infrastructure takes many forms including but not limited to the following: Urban forests, natural areas, greenways, streams and riparian zones, meadows and agricultural lands; green roofs and green walls; parks, gardens and landscaped areas, community gardens, and other green open spaces; rain gardens, bioswales, engineered wetlands and stormwater ponds.

Read these in the following infographic.

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