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Trees: Good for the environment and the wallet

Trees beautify any area, but they’re also saving the environment and our wallets.

There’s nothing quite like walking through Southwest Florida on a November day. The sun is shining and the wind is blowing through the trees, but the green on those trees is not only good for our environment, it’s good for our pockets.

Talk to Debbie Hughes about plants and you’d be barking up the right tree. As the horticulture director for the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, she knows the importance of trees.

“Trees are the soul of the world. They produce so much oxygen and they actually take up the extra carbon that’s in the air, they sequester it.”

Not only that, but UF/IFAS researchers estimate they save Florida cities $4 billion a year collectively.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees, even though they have value,” said David Outerbridge, county extension director with UF/IFAS Extension in Lee County.

“They act as filters for the air, their shading reduces heating and cooling costs, their roots, of course, help reduce stormwater runoff.”

Researchers looked at tree canopies in our state’s metropolitan and micropolitan areas.

“You plant a tree and then you have to have all of the infrastructure for a city including roads and electricity and everything else, so it’s part of looking at the tree as part of that urban infrastructure ecosystem.”

Researchers say preservation and management of urban forests are vital, not just for the environment, but for people, too.

Andrew Koeser, UF/IFAS associate professor of environmental horticulture, led the assessment.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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