Trees Improve Air Quality

Learn how trees make brand new oxygen for us to breathe.

Clean air is vital to our health and well-being of all life. In the past two centuries, human activities have significantly increased the carbon in the atmosphere to unhealthy levels. Carbon dioxide levels have changed naturally over the past several thousand years; human emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere far exceed natural fluctuations. Trees are one of the few organisms that can absorb CO2 and other dangerous pollutants from the air and, in turn, replenish the atmosphere with oxygen for us to breathe. Trees also help to settle out, trap and hold particle pollutants (dust, ash, pollen and smoke) that can damage human lungs by catching these air-borne particles on leaf surfaces. Pollutants come from dust, pollen, ash, motor vehicles, power plants, other industrial sources and wildfires. By keeping forestlands healthy we can help minimize the problem of air pollution.

CO₂ & Trees:

  • One forested acre produces enough oxygen for 18 people every day.
  • One tree can absorb as much carbon in a year as a car produces while driving 26,000 miles.
  • Over the course its life, a single tree can absorb one ton of carbon dioxide.

Air pollutants can deteriorate the health of our trees by damaging their foliage which impedes the process of photosynthesis – the process on how trees make oxygen. They also weaken trees, making them more susceptible to other health problems such as insects and diseases. Check out a few ways you can lighten your carbon footprint to decrease air pollution and help improve the health of our forests.