As many of us have experienced, a home and a house are not one and the same. Home is a place that offers us comfort, safety, relaxation, and a sense of ease. Often that feeling of home is created where there is love and memories. Although they’re not given nearly enough credit in this respect, trees also contribute to our feeling of home.
Whether you’re walking around your neighbourhood, or exploring new parts of your city, the presence of trees, or lack thereof, impacts the way we feel, our sense of ease and our feeling of being at home.
Here are five ways in which trees can create a sense of home for you, and your neighbourly critters.
1. Habitat for wildlife
Thinking beyond ourselves, trees create homes for all kinds of creatures including birds, squirrels, insects, and fungi. They encourage the biodiversity of ecosystems providing habitats to these organisms, among other things. Whether they’re used as shelter, food, or a place to raise their young, many creatures depend on trees for survival.
2. Noise Abatement
According to Forest Research, noise caused by aircrafts, roadways and urban surroundings can cause feelings of anxiety and tension, if exposed to them for extended durations1. However, there are ways to reduce noise levels, including the planting of greenspaces, or “noise buffers,” to reduce noise in urban areas1.
Although there are several factors to consider when planting trees and shrubs for the effective mitigation of urban noise, having trees near home and around your community can help filter the noise and keep your neighbourhood peaceful, all the while adding to your sense of home.
3. Aesthetic Value
If you’ve ever been in the market for a new house, you will know firsthand the impact that trees have when you scope out a new neighbourhood. The beauty they add cannot be denied. Whether it’s the smell of spring blooms, the crunch of falling red leaves or the magic of snow-covered branches, trees offer a unique beauty all year round.
The seasonality of trees, and the excitement that accompanies their rhythmic cycle, introduces feelings of nostalgia and comfort – both of which contribute that feeling of being home.
4. Shade and Temperature Reduction
We’ve all experienced the relief of shade cast from a tree on a hot summer day. In a similar way, trees can moderate the temperatures of our homes, especially when strategically planted in urban neighbourhoods.
The coverage of a deciduous tree on the west side of a house, if filtering sun from reaching the windows and roof, can offer a cooling effect over the building – reducing the need for air conditioning. Of course, a tree canopy over your yard can also reduce the temperatures by up to 2.5 degrees Celsius, making time outdoors more enjoyable in the heat.
5. Reduced Crime Rates
Finally, one critical element to feeling a sense of home, is feeling safe. Scientists have researched the impact of greenspaces on crime, and have found that different types of greenspaces have varying impacts on crime. However, more recent findings indicate that reduced crime rates can be more specifically linked to trees.
In one study, researchers found that crime rates decreased for every 10% increase in tree canopy coverage in an urban setting.
Feeling at Home with Trees
The next time you’re out for a walk or spending time in your yard, take notice of the trees around you. Imagine how different that space would be without them and then take comfort in the fact that they’re there – giving you all that they do.