Trees Restore Economies

by Leah Feor June 13, 2016

Trees Restore Economies“It all comes down to money” is something I hear often.  Yes, financial sustainability is important.  However, it isn’t the only variable in the equation.

When using a triple bottom line (TBL) approach to economy and enterprise, there is a broader scope.  It includes people, planet, and profit.  This means when decisions are made, all three variables are considered.

Given what we have covered in the 6 Pillars of Tree Planting series so far, it’s obvious that trees are well on their way to satisfying a TBL.  Trees promote good health for the people and planet, and now we are going to see how trees promote a healthy economy too.

Well, in reality, we are going to touch the tip of the iceberg on this idea as there are too many facets to discuss in just one blog.

First order of business; let’s talk about how trees save money. 

As a former teacher of mine always said “a dollar saved, is a dollar earned”.

Trees save on electricity costs.  By planting trees strategically around a building or site, the area is cooled down which will reduce dependency on cooling systems in warmer climates. 

Another example, trees reduce water treatment costs by diverting rainwater from drain sewers. 

On the investment side, trees increase the value of property.  Some reports show that having mature trees on or nearby a home can increase its value by at least 3%.  Even on a $100,000 home, that’s an increase of $3,000 just by planting a tree and giving it space and time to grow.

Little by little, these benefits add up making it easy to prove that there are long-term economic advantages to planting trees.

What about in the short term?  And how can trees restore an economy? 

One great way to restore an economy is job creation.  Tree planting will create jobs – from the greenhouses to the fields – it is labor intensive.  So right from the start there is economic growth. 

Once the trees get growing, there are a variety of ways to sustainably yield profit from them.  For example, in the Amazon of Peru, Camino Verde is supporting economic empowerment through reforestation

They have identified many possibilities of strategic tree planting and reforestation, primarily the creation of food forests.  Communities that plant food forests will not only benefit from nutrient dense products for local consumption, they will also be able to sell surpluses externally.

So, when we add together the cost savings created by trees, plus the profit generation of trees, plus the decrease in health care costs, plus the increase in well-being of citizens globally, I’d say planting a tree gives a lot of bang for your buck.

Keep posted for the next blog where we’ll be wrapping up the six part series on the pillars of tree planting.  In the meantime, let’s get the conversation going – comment below – how do trees benefit your community?

 

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    Leah Feor
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