Parks are good for our environment
Parks and open spaces provide multiple environmental benefits to a community. One key environmental benefit of parks is that they provide space for trees and other vegetation. An i-Tree20 analysis on the public tree inventory in Lethbridge was conducted in 2011 and reported the following findings and indicators:
- Public trees in Lethbridge store over 128 million kg of CO2 and sequester (capture and long-term storage) over 4 million kg of CO2.
- Public trees in Lethbridge save an estimated 18,000+ gigajoules of electricity and 135,000+ gigajoules of natural gas annually.
- Public trees in Lethbridge help improve air quality through the deposition of over 24,000 kg of other air particles and chemicals.
Trees and natural areas in Lethbridge also play a key role in helping to protect important infrastructure in the City through the prevention of erosion and the reduction of stress on systems such as stormwater sewers. On an annual basis
it is estimated that public trees in Lethbridge intercept over 331,000 cubic metres of rainfall from entering the stormwater system.
Tree canopies also provide urban areas with a significant cooling effect which results in increased comfort for residents, increased energy savings and enhanced overall sustainability. Parks spaces also provide an important buffer between development and our urban water bodies such as the Oldman River and Henderson Lake. Experts on urban lakes have overwhelmingly identified the need to protect natural areas surrounding urban lakes and other wetlands. Doing so can help protect and improve water quality by filtering runoff from streets and limiting development that can impact shorelines.21
20 i-Tree is software system developed by the US Forest Service to analyze and assess urban forest assets
21 Urban Lakes: Ecosystems at Risk, Worthy of the Best Care. L. Naselli-Flores. Presented at the 12th World Lake Conference (2008)