Capitalizing on the Benefits of Trees

Trees benefit local communities, offering natural, low-cost solutions to many municipal problems. In this module, you’ll learn about the benefits of trees and how you can expand tree cover across your community.

Read the video transcript

In this topic you will learn

  1. What are the benefits of trees in my community?

  2. What can I do to enhance trees in my community?



School time spent among trees and nature can improve academic outcomes in reading, writing, math, science and social studies, enhancing creativity, critical thinking and problem solving.

A textbook, indicating education.

Economic Development

A home that is located near natural forests is worth, on average, $10,000 more in property premiums. A neighborhood with good tree cover, where homes are perceived as scenic and private, increases home values between 6% and 9%. Annually, trees in the Chesapeake Bay watershed provide at least $24 billion in the form of carbon removal, flood control, wildlife habitat and recreation.

A dollar sign, indicating economic development.

Public Health and Safety

Studies show that time spent in nature and forests—from taking a walk to forest bathing—increases immunity and well-being. Community trees also bring people together outdoors, increasing exercise, reducing stress and lowering societal healthcare costs. Encouraging a community to spend time outdoors can also increase neighborhood vigilance, discouraging criminal activity.

A heart and a plus sign, indicating public health and safety.

Infrastructure Maintenance and Finance

Trees reduce runoff that would otherwise flood communities, placing stress on storm drainage systems and discharging pollutants into local waterways.

A house, indicating infrastructure.

Case Studies You'll Find Inside

Pembroke Woods

Emmitsburg, Maryland

The Value of Undisturbed Trees

Developers in Frederick County, Maryland, saved over $360,000 by leaving trees and wetlands undisturbed in a residential subdivision. These savings were primarily earned in the form of stormwater benefits and reduced clearing costs.

Urban rowhouses are visible through green tree canopy. (Envato Elements)

Here's How You Can Help

An icon of a green tree and blue tree overlapping, indicating tree canopy. Establish a tree canopy goal for your community.
An icon of a desktop computer screen. Explore and diversify funding opportunities to meet your tree planting goals.
An icon of a closed blue book with a green tree in the bottom right corner, indicating environmental rules, policies or learning opportunities. Update local codes, ordinances, plans and standards to encourage best practices for tree planting, maintenance and conservation.
An icon of a blue and a green hand mid-handshake, indicating collaboration. Get residents involved in tree planting and stewardship activities.

Learn More About This Topic


Determine whether your city is delivering equitable tree canopy cover to all residents.


Use this worksheet to review your municipal codes and ordinances, so future development projects conserve valuable woodlands and encourage new plantings.

Related Topics