Trees in and around Elephant Park: why are they so important?
In this post, we are celebrating trees in all their leafy glory. They make residential areas greener, healthier and happier places to live – and there are more than 1,000 new trees being planted in Southwark, thanks to Elephant Park developer Lendlease.
Why are trees so important? Here we take a look at all the reasons why trees have such a positive effect on Elephant and Castle and its residents.
Trees benefit health
By absorbing pollutants and trapping dust, trees help to combat air pollution and make the air we breathe cleaner and safer. You can think of trees as a lush green net which filters out atmospheric impurities.
On top of this, trees also produce oxygen: over a season, one large leafy tree can produce enough oxygen for ten of us to breathe! This is especially important in busy built up areas – such as Southwark – where average oxygen levels can be up to 6% lower than elsewhere.
Research has also shown that living near to large groups of trees helps lower blood pressure, slows your heart rate and can reduce stress. What’s not to love?
Trees are environmentally-friendly
Trees are working quietly to slow down climate change and prevent flooding. Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, and by trapping the carbon in their trunks, they can help to mitigate the effects of climate change. They can also cool the air in cities by up to 7% as they lose moisture and reflect heat upwards from their leaves.
Planting trees is also a sustainable wayto help prevent flooding in built-up areas. Trees can absorb thousands (yes, thousands!) of litres of water from storms. This is especially important in urban areas where low-absorption materials are used like stone paving and tarmac.
Trees are great for wildlife
Trees provide a home and food for many different species. Young, small trees are the perfect spot for birds, insects and fungi to live, while older, larger trees often provide shelter for bats, beetles, owls, woodpeckers and many other creatures. Next time you’re wandering around Elephant Park, see if you can spot any of your wild neighbours!
Trees strengthen communities
Put simply, trees bring people together. The trees in Elephant Park are perfect to lounge under at a picnic with friends; for children to climb as they get in touch with their adventurous side; for community projects like this year’s Illuminated Spring light show; and even as a set for performances. This July, the trees in Elephant Park were transformed into an enchanted forest in an outdoor production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and many more events are taking place in the park throughout this year (see more here).