Report: forests save hundreds of lives annually

Flickr, C.K. Koay

A recent report has proved that trees are responsible for saving more than 850 human lives every year. The USDA Forest Service also discovered that trees prevent 670,000 incidents of acute respiratory illness annually.

We all know that trees give us oxygen, fruit and wood. The report, however, focused on what they take away - major pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone and sulfur dioxide.

Through a process known as deposition, pollutants are absorbed into tree leaves. In short, the more pollutants in the leaves, the less we breathe into our lungs. Every year, there are about 130,000 air-pollution-related deaths in America.

Our national forests are like the giant lungs of America. The report claims that trees' abilities to reduce air pollution is especially important in urban areas. Urban forests, therefore, are akin to city respirators.

In their study, Forest Service researchers used computer simulations to understand how effective trees are at capturing particulates across America. They compared the amount of tree cover in an area and the hourly removal of pollutants by leaves from the air to data on health impacts and corresponding economic values. 

The researchers concluded that the lives and lungs saved by tree-reduced air pollution equates to $6.8 billion each year, particularly in urban areas.

We know America's wild lands provide plenty of economic benefits as well as personal ones. So we work to protect them. Join us.


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