Plants and trees adapt to various climates in order to survive and grow. They provide several benefits to animals and humans, including clean air and water, and a source of food, all of which are necessary for survival. Coexisting with plants and trees is a major factor in the continuation of our species.
Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air. They also remove benzene and formaldehyde, or off-gas pollutants, from the air. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets the standards for outdoor air quality. Causes of poor air quality include particulate matter, foul odors from animal waste and smog. Plants, trees and grasses hold soil in place and prevent particulate matter from entering the air. Trees provide windbreaks that reduce wind speed and blocks odors from farms.
Reduce Noise and Control Temperature
Planting tress or shrubs close together produces Windbreaks that reduce noise levels. According to PBS, a 90-foot belt of trees may reduce noise levels up to 50 percent. Additionally, large trees provide shade, lowering the temperature in the summer. The water that transpires and evaporates from plants and trees provides a cooling effect, resulting in energy preservation.
Provide Animal Habitat
Plants and trees provide a habitat for many animal families. They provide shelter from the harsh cold in the winter and blazing sun in the summer. Additionally, animals and humans alike depend on plants and trees for food.
A Washington State University study showed the relation between indoor plants and the stress and productivity of workers. In the study, subjects worked in a computer lab while observers monitored their blood pressure and emotions. The results indicated subjects worked 12 percent faster and had lower systolic pressure, indicating less stress, when indoor plants were present.
Prevent Stormwater Runoff
Rain in areas where there are no plants and trees, such as large cities, becomes stormwater runoff. It then carries pollutants -- such as oil -- into lakes, rivers and other bodies of water. The world's water supply becomes unhealthy without plants and trees filtering the water. Also, plants and trees assist in recycling water by soaking it up through their roots and returning it to the environment through evaporation.
- University of Minnesota Extension; Houseplants Help Clean Indoor Air; Deborah L. Brown
- United States Department of Agriculture: Plant Applications for Improving Air Quality
- PBS: Bill Moyer Reports -- Earth on Edge
- Washington State University: Impact of Interior Plants on Human Stress and Productivity
- Alabama Cooperative Extension; Home Selection and Care of Interior Foliage Plants; J. Raymond Kessler, Jr., November 2003
- City of Bremerton: Stormwater Runoff
- Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images
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