Comment by Cindy Muse
Close your eyes and imagine the canopy of trees as you drive down River Road or the sugar maple growing in your neighbor’s yard. Trees provide a peaceful beauty to our Carmel landscape, along with many other benefits.
Tree leaves absorb carbon dioxide and water and use the sun’s energy to convert them into food (sugar) for the tree. In turn, the air we need to breathe – oxygen – is produced as a by-product and released from the tree. The tree also captures gases that can be harmful, such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.
Trees mitigate the effects of sun, wind and rain, lower air temperatures, improve air quality, slow soil erosion, support wildlife and biodiversity, mitigate climate change and provide an aesthetically pleasing environment for family and friends to gather in the cool shade for outdoor activities. Plus, trees can lower your energy bills and increase your home’s real estate value.
Because of its dedication to preserving and growing its urban forest, the city of Carmel has been recognized as Tree City USA for 28 years. In a 2018 study by Davey Resource Group, trees on public property in Carmel provided $2.9 million in annual benefits in the areas of aesthetics, improved air quality, carbon sequestration and avoidance, energy conservation and reduced stormwater management. For 2022, Carmel plans to plant another 600 to 800 large shade trees.
In addition to public spaces, municipal zoning ordinances encourage the maintenance and planting of trees in residential and commercial areas. Residential subdivisions can only clear a certain percentage of woodlots for their infrastructure. Many commercial buildings are required to have buffer yards along property lines, parking lot plantings, and foundation plantings with environmentally friendly landscape designs.
So, plant trees and reap the benefits. Enjoy a summer dinner on your terrace shaded by breathtaking trees.
Cindy Muse is a member of Carmel Green Initiative. Learn more about the group and share your comments on carmelgreen.org.