Search AOL Mail
AOL Mail
AOL Favorites

Trees save more than 850 lives a year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

The next time you walk by a tree, you might be passing one that's saved someone's life ... well, sort of: a new study published by the USDA Forest Services found that trees save more than 850 lives a year and prevent something around 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms.

So it's basically the exact opposite of the plants in M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening" that release a deadly neurotoxin to kill humans. This study suggests trees have a much more positive impact.

The U.S. Forest Service's Northern Research Station released a statement saying their study is unique in the fact that it "directly links the removal of air pollution with improved human health effects and associated health values."

The study looked at four different pollutants - nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and small particles like ash. Trees helped reduce these pollutants for an average air quality improvement of less than one percent.

Although that doesn't sound like much, PhysOrg notes that the impacts are "substantial" with researchers placing the value to human health at somewhere around $7 billion per year nationwide.

The study found these effects are especially important in urban areas, with one scientist saying: "With more than 80 percent of Americans living in urban area [sic], this research underscores how truly essential urban forests are to people across the nation."

But while the study concentrated on the positive effects of trees, it does make mention of some possible negative effects such as altering power plant energy use, reducing wind speeds resulting in increased pollution in some places, and emitting trace amounts of their own pollutants.

The study also notes 130,000 small particle-related deaths and 4,700 ozone-related deaths in the U.S. in 2005 were attributed to pollution.

Join the discussion

1000|Characters 1000  Characters
elkhartbiker August 02 2014 at 9:04 AM

I agree that trees are very important to our eco-system besides being pleasant to the eye. But these so-called studies that throw out numbers are ridiculous. The USDA is only guess-timating on that 850 number. I think our federal bureau-boobs ought to have something more constructive to do for the $$ billions we're paying them.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
kabube elkhartbiker August 02 2014 at 6:25 PM

Great--trees are not only lovely but need CO2 to live which they use and return 02 back to us mammals--sounds like a win/win for everyone. Now if we could get welfare people to hand out the trees to welfare recipients who musty plant them to receive their checks. You could also give some to the terminally unemployed we'd all benefit, and the workers planting said trees would feel proud about helping out!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
coopdabomb August 02 2014 at 7:28 AM

Wow, as soon as the sun comes up I'm running outside to hug my tree

Flag Reply +2 rate up
db1219 August 02 2014 at 6:50 PM

A whole 850 lives in the country?? WOW!!! And just think----there are over 2,000 people murdered every year in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. That over 6,000 lives lost. But having trees saves a whole 850 lives in the country. AMAZING journalism, AOL!!!!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Jeremiah August 02 2014 at 2:38 PM

Worldwide, trees also accounted for more than 880 deaths last year:

118 children were killed falling out of trees.

42 people were killed by trees falling on their homes during storms or tornados.

643 people were killed by smoke from forest fires and burning trees.

4 people were killed standing under trees being struck by lightning.

73 people died crashing into trees while driving.

This does not include the number of people killed from smoke inhalation in wooden homes constructed from lumber sawn from trees.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
3 replies
rvheaney August 02 2014 at 7:02 PM

Who is the fool that wrote this dumb headline ?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
crowland503 August 02 2014 at 3:08 PM

While George Washington did not lie about chopping down the cherry tree, the phony, deadbeat POTUS more than happy to lie his head off as a Muslin-Taliban Sympathizer. Are you ready to denounce Christianity and convert to Muslin/Islam to save your ass because Obama the First betrayed you?

Your lesson, Students, figure the number of trees required to build
coffins for the non-believers!

If you reply, please check later to read my response!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
dgoffnspector crowland503 August 02 2014 at 5:16 PM

Wow, you are such a friggin' moron.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
crowland503 dgoffnspector August 02 2014 at 7:38 PM

Thank you for supporting my view point about the wasted money in education! Hope you attend remedial classes to help you catch-up with your peers.

Flag 0 rate up
Randy1953 crowland503 August 02 2014 at 5:54 PM


Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
crowland503 Randy1953 August 02 2014 at 7:44 PM

You causing me to blush as your fore finger points to me as number one in your campaign not to convert; alas you are an atheist who hasn't seen the glory of Hay Zeus in your life,

Flag 0 rate up
Steve August 02 2014 at 12:57 PM

I thought they had those parks for illegals to sleep there and use the trees to hide while urinating and other things.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
dgoffnspector Steve August 02 2014 at 5:17 PM

Who are you trying to fool. You didn't think.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
janieturnage August 02 2014 at 12:28 PM

I have four cedar trees in my yard that are over 100 years old. I love them. They don't make a mess and make a wonderful thick shade which we are able to use in the summer and hang swings out of them for the grandchildren and neighborhood kids.

When Hurricane Ivan came we parked my daughter's car as close to our house as we could to keep flying debris from hitting it. Well, no flying debris hit it, but one huge limb from one of those trees broke off and landed right there, right on top of her car. Wouldn't you just know it.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
2 replies
Practical Nomad janieturnage August 02 2014 at 7:43 PM

Snore. Send coffee STAT. Nobody cares about your four cedar trees and your love for them. Nobody cares if they don't make a mess or provide shade you use in the summer. Nobody cares that you hang swings for your grandchildren and neighborhood kids, (who's parents will sue you the first time they are hurt falling off your tree swing, bank on it). And nobody cares about your daughter's car being parked close to your house because you don't have a garage, nor do they care that a huge limb from one of your trees broke off and landed on top of it. How does ANY of this relate to the article about saving lives and preventing acute respiratory symptoms? Are you for real?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
janieturnage janieturnage August 02 2014 at 10:11 PM

Practical Nomad - I say things that make me happy when I say them. Try it, you might like it. I have many other trees too that also help improve the environment and the neighborhood. (Read between the lines.) My family and neighbors like me (and my trees) whether you do or not. By your name maybe you don't stay in one place long enough to have friends. Maybe it is actually you nobody cares about considering your comment.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
tren555 August 02 2014 at 10:18 PM

Health care is killing 200k ameriacns from MISTAKES alone !@
Save trees , but please close hospitals .
I know you think a hospital is a good thing.
Imagine a war in US people with 200 k victims every year.
Health care is nr 1 killer I US.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
brewmurgy August 02 2014 at 9:27 PM

This is the only planet we have. We should treat it like it's our child. Unfortunately climate change deniers lock their child in a hot car with the windows up on a hot day.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
aol~~ 1209600


More From Our Partners