Communities Benefit from Energy-Saving Trees

In the video series, ‘Communities Benefit from Energy-Saving Trees’, University of Florida Extension Forester Robert Northrop discusses how trees create a sense of place; provide a comfortable environment to seek respite in our day-to-day lives; and how well-designed forests lead to notable energy savings in Blending Architecture with the Urban Forest. Northrop further explains how the planning and care of trees in the built environment relies on a community of engaged citizens for its success in Community Involvement with Urban Forestry. He points out that “there are costs to the urban forest, but the benefits outweigh those costs, particularly through good, sound management and use of science to guide planning…to produce a multitude of benefits.”

In Finding Refuge in the Urban Forest, Northrop explains how urban forests provide habitat for wildlife, a refuge from the heat and chaos of the city and a source of well-being for city dwellers.

With careful planning, cities can maximize the benefits of urban forests. The video, Trees for Comfort in Public Places, discusses how the City of Tampa has intentionally planned green space in its business districts to encourage people to get outside, which increases shopper foot traffic and boosts worker productivity. He also showcases a “pocket” park where the soil and hardscape has been specially engineered to boost tree growth and longevity, which maximizes shade and comfort. Urban areas tend to be hotter than outlying natural environments, which can impact air quality and human health. Fortunately, urban forests buffer the heat of the sun and cool the urban environment. The Urban Forest’s Role in Heat Reduction describes the urban heating phenomenon and its consequences for people and the environment.