As we take time during the holiday season to focus on the things we are most thankful for, we think it’s important to take a moment to consider just a few of the many reasons we should be thankful for forests and the benefits they provide us.

1. Forests provide clean water.
Approximately 180 million people depend on forests for water.

More than 1/2 of U.S. drinking water originates in forests.

2. Forests clean our air.
Trees help reduce pollutants by taking them up from soils and water through their roots.

One mature tree absorbs CO2 at the rate of 48 pounds per year.

3. Forests help the wildlife we love thrive.
Forests are home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. In the U.S. alone, forests house 9,195 vascular plants and 1,165 vertebrate species.

More than 5 million terrestrial species depend on forests for their survival.

4. Forests in our cities help keep us safe.
Urban forests have been linked to lower crime rates, a greater sense of public safety, and increased community involvement by residents.

Areas with trees experience lower crime rates.

5. Forests help keep us healthy.
Research shows that nature can improve both mental and physical health as well as reduce recovery time.

Trees save more than 850 human lives a year and prevent 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms.

6. Forests provide economic benefits.
Urban trees in the continental U.S. store 770 million tons of carbon, valued at $14.3 billion. Plus, trees can increase home property value by 10-20 percent.

Financial benefits of 100 properly placed trees over 40 years worth $225,000.

7. Forests help us combat climate change.
Currently, plants absorb and store about 15 percent of the United States’ total carbon dioxide emissions from the transportation and energy sectors.

Forests are the largest forms of carbon storage, or sinks, in the United States.

8. Forests allow us to use less energy.
100 million mature trees growing around residences in the U.S. can save about $2 billion annually in energy costs.

Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce AC costs by 30%

9. Forests provide fun AND jobs.
Today there are 155 national forests in 42 states, plus one in Puerto Rico, comprising almost 190 million acres — 8.5 percent of the nation’s total land area. These forests help sustain the $646 billion a year recreation industry.

Recreation provides 6.1 million jobs to Americans.

10. Forests help us relax.
Forests help us connect with nature. Plus, urban forests can help reduce noise pollution, allowing us to relax and focus better.

For every 30 meters of trees, noise is reduced by up to 50 percent.

For original sources, as well as more interesting facts, visit our Forest Facts page.