Trees Just Eat Carbon, Right?


The ginkgo tree (photo credit to is just one of the many tree species you will find on campus

We all know how many trees are on Washtenaw Community College’s campus. Maybe not the exact number, but we know it is somewhere in the billions or so (Not really, just sarcasm). But why is Washtenaw’s campus a home to so many trees? I mean, they’re just big old carbon eaters, right? Not like they’re good for anything else.

Wrong. Although, trees are a reliable source for sequestering carbon and spitting out oxygen to improve the air quality of our fair planet, they have many other uses as well. Trees filter pollutants through their canopies, roots, and trunks, thus improving the quality of water. They also raise the quality of our water by stabilizing soils and absorbing rainwater, reducing erosion, storm water runoff, and sedimentation in waterways. Trees are also home to many different species of life. They supply mammals, birds, insects, and even other plants with food and shelter. A single tree can support hundreds of different species all on it’s own.

Those are some impressive points for why trees are a good thing to have around on campus. But, are there any other reasons that don’t have to do with nature and saving the planet? Of course! The USDA Forest Service (a viable source for news and information on trees) says “Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30%.” Trees also have the ability to sell products! Well, sort of. Studies have shown that customers will spend 9 to 12% more on products if the business is in a tree lined central business districts. Trees can reduce noise pollution and make an area more attractive to the passing eye. I’m not sure if trees can deter graffiti or reduce crime rates, but I know it’s pretty difficult to put graffiti on a tree.

Trees are a vital part of humanity and efforts to help both saving the world naturally and economically. So next time someone refers to a tree as just a “carbon vacuum”, you can present them with all the other positive reinforcements of trees, and how they are just one more way that WCC is saving the world! Sort of.

Photo taken from
Northeastern Area State & Private Forestry
USDA Forest Sevice-“US Urban Trees Store Carbon, Provide Billions in Economic Value”

3 thoughts on “Trees Just Eat Carbon, Right?

    • Yes, I was only using sarcastic hyperbole in that sentence, I’ll update that. I can’t think of any way of estimating the tree count that wouldn’t be massively time consuming, but it would be interesting to find a way to do it.

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