forest of trees

Westchester County’s trees create the verdant environment that attracts residents to live and work here. Trees are essential to life. They provide clean air, purified water, flood control, temperature regulation, habitat for wildlife, improved human health, sustainable communities, recreation and inspiration. Through carbon sequestration, trees are also the best nature-based solution to climate change. Yet access to trees and green spaces is not uniform across the County. Many of our most vulnerable communities do not fully receive the benefits trees can provide because there are fewer trees growing there. Planting more trees can help create a more equitable Westchester.

Throughout the world and our region - trees are threatened, and by planting and caring for trees- we will improve life for all. An ecosystem is a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment. Plants and animals, including insects, are all part of our ecosystems. As the largest organisms in our local ecosystems, trees often determine a plant community, defined as different species of plants that live together in a specific area with specific conditions. Native trees comprise many of the keystone species or foundational species in most of Westchester’s ecosystems. We are learning more every day about how trees interact with each other and other plant species. Forest ecologist, Professor Suzanne Simard and others have done groundbreaking research on the ways in which trees share information and carbon, and on the importance of this to the health of the whole forest. To learn more about the importance of native trees, see Native Plants.

Title: Time for Trees--An Arbor Day Foundation Initiative
Sponsoring Organization: Arbor Day Foundation
Description: Watch the inspiring 3½ -minute video showcasing the many benefits of trees. Read about the Time for Trees initiative by the Arbor Day Foundation that seeks to plant 100 million trees in forests and communities around the globe and to inspire 5 million tree planters to help carry the mission forward.

Title: Benefits of Trees
Sponsoring Organization: United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service
Description: One-page fact sheet of tree benefits, plus links to other useful web pages.

Title: Benefits of Trees
Sponsoring Organization: Arbor Day Foundation
Description: This is an engaging website featuring how trees save energy, how trees fight climate change, and other benefits; the site also hosts an interactive stormwater page.

Title: Tree Facts
Sponsoring Organization: Arbor Day Foundation
Description: A fact sheet explaining the benefits of trees, including producing oxygen, removing pollutants from our water and air, flood control, carbon storage, improving human mental and physical health, reducing the effects of climate change, saving energy, raising property values, and creating wildlife habitat.

In addition to the many benefits described in the resources above, you can calculate the benefits of trees to you in dollars using the i-Tree Benefit Calculator, below.

Title: i-Tree Benefit Calculator and i-Tree Tools
Sponsoring Organization: i-Tree is a cooperative effort between the USDA Forest Service, Davey Tree Expert Company, The Arbor Day Foundation, Society of Municipal Arborists, International Society of Arboriculture, Casey Trees, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Description: The i-Tree on-line calculator allows you to explore the benefits provided by individual trees near your home or office in dollars. If you input your address, the species of tree, the diameter of the tree, and the distance from your home, this program will calculate the benefits in dollars the tree can produce. This is done based on factors such as the energy costs a tree can save by cooling a home, the stormwater runoff it can avoid, the air pollution it can remove each year, and the reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide it can achieve through storage.

There are two web-based programs that are good for residential use:

i-Tree Design and i-Tree MyTree

  • i-Tree Design (web app): Parcel-level analysis of current and future tree benefits.
  • i-Tree MyTree (web app): Easily assess the value of one to several trees in a mobile web browser.

Additionally i-Tree Tools (specifically canopy and landscape) can help managers and tree advocates quantify the benefits of trees at a larger scale.