Gujarati (;ગુજરાતીgujarātī[ɡudʒəˈɾɑːt̪i]) is an Indo-Aryan language native to the Indian state of Gujarat. It is part of the greater Indo-Europeanlanguage family. Gujarati is descended from Old Gujarati (circa 1100–1500 AD). In India, it is the official language in the state of Gujarat, as well as an official language in the union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. As of 2001, Gujarati is the 7th most widely spoken language in India by number of native speakers, spoken by 4.48% of the Indian population which amounts to 46.09 million speakers in India. It is the 26th most widely spoken language in the world by number of native speakers.
The Gujarati language is more than 700 years old and is spoken by more than 55 million people worldwide. Gujarati is spoken in many countries outside India, including United States, United Kingdom, Kenya, Pakistan, Uganda, South Africa, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Australia, China, Bahrain, Singapore, Tanzania, and Zambia. Gujarati was the mothertongue of Mahatma Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Gujarati (also sometimes spelled Gujerati, Gujarathi, Guzratee, Guujaratee, "Gujarati", Gujrathi, and Gujerathi) is a modern IA (Indo-Aryan) language evolved from Sanskrit. The traditional practice is to differentiate the IA languages on the basis of three historical stages:
- Old IA (Vedic and Classical Sanskrit)
- Middle IA (various Prakrits and Apabhramshas)
- New IA (modern languages such as Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, etc.)
Another view postulates successive family tree splits, in which Gujarati is assumed to have separated from other IA languages in four stages:
- IA languages split into Northern, Eastern, and Western divisions based on the innovate characteristics such as plosives becoming voiced in the Northern (Skt. danta "tooth" > Punj. dānd) and dental and retroflexsibilants merging with the palatal in the Eastern (Skt. sandhya "evening" > Beng. śājh).
- Western, into Central and Southern.
- Central, in Gujarati/Rajasthani, Western Hindi, and Punjabi/Lahanda/Sindhi, on the basis of innovation of auxiliary verbs and postpositions in Gujarati/Rajasthani.
- Gujarati/Rajasthani into Gujarati and Rajasthani through development of such characteristics as auxiliary ch- and the possessivemarker -n- during the 15th century.
The principal changes from Sanskrit are the following:
Gujarati is then customarily divided into the following three historical stages:
Main article: Old Gujarati language
Main article: Middle Gujarati language
Modern Gujarati (AD 1800– )
A major phonological change was the deletion of final ə, such that the modern language has consonant-final words. Grammatically, a new plural marker of -o developed. In literature, the third quarter of the 19th century saw a series of milestones for Gujarati, which previously had had verse as its dominant mode of literary composition.
Demographics and distribution
Of the approximately 46 million speakers of Gujarati in 1997, roughly 45.5 million resided in India, 150,000 in Uganda, 50,000 in Tanzania, 50,000 in Kenya and roughly 100,000 in Karachi, Pakistan, excluding several hundreds of thousands of Memonis who do not self-identify as Gujarati, but hail from a region within the state of Gujarat. However, Gujarati community leaders in Pakistan claim that there are 3 million Gujarati speakers in Karachi. There is a certain amount of Mauritian population and a large amount of Réunion Island people who are from Gujarati descent among which some of them still speak Gujarati.
A considerable Gujarati-speaking population exists in North America, most particularly in the New York City Metropolitan Area and in the Greater Toronto Area, which have over 100,000 speakers and over 75,000 speakers, respectively, but also throughout the major metropolitan areas of the United States and Canada. According to the 2011 census, Gujarati is the seventeenth most spoken language in the Greater Toronto Area, and the fourth most spoken South Asian language after Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi and Tamil.
The UK has over 200,000 speakers, many of them situated in the London area, especially in North West London, but also in Birmingham, Manchester, and in Leicester, Coventry, Bradford and the former mill towns within Lancashire. A portion of these numbers consists of East African Gujaratis who, under increasing discrimination and policies of Africanisation in their newly independent resident countries (especially Uganda, where Idi Amin expelled 50,000 Asians), were left with uncertain futures and citizenships. Most, with British passports, settled in the UK. Gujarati is offered as a GCSE subject for students in the UK.
Besides being spoken by the Gujarati people, non-Gujarati residents of and migrants to the state of Gujarat also count as speakers, among them the Kutchis (as a literary language), the Parsis (adopted as a mother tongue), and HinduSindhirefugees from Pakistan. A distribution of the geographical area can be found in 'Linguistic Survey of India' by George A. Grierson.
Gujarati is one of the twenty-two official languages and fourteen regional languages of India. It is officially recognized in the state of Gujarat, India and the union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
Gujarati is recognized and taught as a minority language in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Delhi.
See also: States of India by Gujarati speakers
According to British historian and philologist William Tisdall, who was an early scholar of Gujarati grammar, three major varieties of Gujarati exist: a standard 'Hindu' dialect, a 'Parsi' dialect and a 'Muslim' dialect.
However, Gujarati has undergone contemporary reclassification with respect to the widespread regional differences in vocabulary and phrasing; notwithstanding the number of poorly attested dialects and regional variations in naming.
- Standard Gujarati: this forms something of a standardised variant of Gujarati across news, education and government. It is also spoken in pockets of Maharashtra.
- Gamadia: spoken primarily in Ahmedabad and the surrounding regions, in addition to Bharuch and Surat, where it is colloquially known as 'Surati'.
- Kathiawari: a distinctive variant spoken primarily in the Kathiawar region and subject to significant Sindhi influence.
- Parsi: spoken by the ZoroastrianParsi minority. This highly distinctive variety has been subject to considerable lexical influence by Avestan, the liturgical Zoroastrian language.
- Lisan ud-Dawat: spoken primarily by Gujarati MuslimBohra communities, it has been subject to greater lexical influence by Arabic and Persian and is written in the Arabic script.
Kutchi is often referred to as a dialect of Gujarati, but most linguists consider it closer to Sindhi. In addition, a mixture between Sindhi, Gujarati, and Kutchi called Memoni is related to Gujarati, albeit distantly.
Furthermore, words used by the native languages of areas where the Gujarati people have become a diaspora community, such as East Africa (Swahili), have become loanwords in local dialects of Gujarati.
Main article: Gujarati phonology
Main articles: Gujarati alphabet and Gujarati braille
Similar to other Nāgarī writing systems, the Gujarati script is an abugida. It is used to write the Gujarati and Kutchi languages. It is a variant of Devanāgarī script differentiated by the loss of the characteristic horizontal line running above the letters and by a small number of modifications in the remaining characters.
Gujarati and closely related languages, including Kutchi and Parkari Koli, can be written in the Arabic or Persian scripts. This is traditionally done by many in Gujarat's Kutch district.
Categorisation and sources
These are the three general categories of words in modern Indo-Aryan: tatsam, tadbhav, and loanwords.
તદ્ભવtadbhava, "of the nature of that". Gujarati is a modern Indo-Aryan language descended from Sanskrit (old Indo-Aryan), and this category pertains exactly to that: words of Sanskritic origin that have demonstratively undergone change over the ages, ending up characteristic of modern Indo-Aryan languages specifically as well as in general. Thus the "that" in "of the nature of that" refers to Sanskrit. They tend to be non-technical, everyday, crucial words; part of the spoken vernacular. Below is a table of a few Gujarati tadbhav words and their Old Indo-Aryan sources:
|falls, slips||khasati||khasvũ||to move|||
|causes to move||arpayati||āpvũ||to give|||
|attains to, obtains||prāpnoti||pāmvũ|||
|equal, alike, level||sama||samũ||right, sound|||
તત્સમtatsama, "same as that". While Sanskrit eventually stopped being spoken vernacularly, in that it changed into Middle Indo-Aryan, it was nonetheless standardized and retained as a literary and liturgical language for long after. This category consists of these borrowed words of (more or less) pure Sanskrit character. They serve to enrich Gujarati and modern Indo-Aryan in its formal, technical, and religious vocabulary. They are recognizable by their Sanskrit inflections and markings; they are thus often treated as a separate grammatical category unto themselves.
Many old tatsam words have changed their meanings or have had their meanings adopted for modern times. પ્રસારણ prasāraṇ means "spreading", but now it is used for "broadcasting". In addition to this are neologisms, often being calques. An example is telephone, which is Greek for "far talk", translated as દુરભાષ durbhāṣ. Though most people just use ફોન phon and thus neo-Sanskrit has varying degrees of acceptance.
So, while having unique tadbhav sets, modern IA languages have a common, higher tatsam pool. Also, tatsams and their derived tadbhavs can also co-exist in a language; sometimes of no consequence and at other times with differences in meaning:
|karma||Work — Dharmic religious concept of works or deeds whose divine consequences are experienced in this life or the next.||kām||work [without any religious connotations].|
|kṣetra||Field — Abstract sense, such as a field of knowledge or activity; khāngī kṣetra → private sector. Physical sense, but of higher or special importance; raṇǎkṣetra → battlefield.||khetar||field [in agricultural sense].|
What remains are words of foreign origin (videśī), as well as words of local origin that cannot be pegged as belonging to any of the three prior categories (deśaj). The former consists mainly of Persian, Arabic, and English, with trace elements of Portuguese and Turkish. While the phenomenon of English loanwords is relatively new, Perso-Arabic has a longer history behind it. Both English and Perso-Arabic influences are quite nationwide phenomena, in a way paralleling tatsam as a common vocabulary set or bank. What's more is how, beyond a transposition into general Indo-Aryan, the Perso-Arabic set has also been assimilated in a manner characteristic and relevant to the specific Indo-Aryan language it is being used in, bringing to mind tadbhav.
India was ruled for many a century by Persian-speaking Muslims, amongst the most notable being the Turko-AfghanDelhi Sultanate, and the Turco-MongolMughal dynasty. As a consequence Indian languages were changed greatly, with the large scale entry of Persian and its many Arabic loans into the Gujarati lexicon. One fundamental adoption was Persian's conjunction "that", ke. Also, while tatsam or Sanskrit is etymologically continuous to Gujarati, it is essentially of a differing grammar (or language), and that in comparison while Perso-Arabic is etymologically foreign, it has been in certain instances and to varying degrees grammatically indigenized. Owing to centuries of situation and the end of Persian education and power, (1) Perso-Arabic loans are quite unlikely to be thought of or known as loans, and (2) more importantly, these loans have often been Gujarati-ized. dāvo – claim, fāydo – benefit, natījo – result, and hamlo – attack, all carry Gujarati's masculine gender marker, o. khānũ – compartment, has the neuter ũ. Aside from easy slotting with the auxiliary karvũ, a few words have made a complete transition of verbification: kabūlvũ – to admit (fault), kharīdvũ – to buy, kharǎcvũ – to spend (money), gujarvũ – to pass. The last three are definite part and parcel.
Below is a table displaying a number of these loans. Currently some of the etymologies are being referenced to an Urdu dictionary so that Gujarati's singular masculine o corresponds to Urdu ā, neuter ũ groups into ā as Urdu has no neuter gender, and Urdu's Persian z is not upheld in Gujarati and corresponds to j or jh. In contrast to modern Persian, the pronunciation of these loans into Gujarati and other Indo-Aryan languages, as well as that of Indian-recited Persian, seems to be in line with Persian spoken in Afghanistan and Central Asia, perhaps 500 years ago.
Lastly, Persian, being part of the Indo-Iranian language family as Sanskrit and Gujarati are, met up in some instances with its cognates:
Zoroastrian Persian refugees known as Parsis also speak an accordingly Persianized form of Gujarati.
With the end of Perso-Arabic inflow, English became the current foreign source of new vocabulary. English had and continues to have a considerable influence over Indian languages. Loanwords include new innovations and concepts, first introduced directly through British colonialism, and then streaming in on the basis of continued English language dominance in the post-colonial period. Besides the category of new ideas is the category of English words that already have Gujarati counterparts which end up replaced or existed alongside with. The major driving force behind this latter category has to be the continuing role of English in modern India as a language of education, prestige, and mobility. In this way, Indian speech can be sprinkled with English words and expressions, even switches to whole sentences.See Hinglish, Code-switching.
In matters of sound, English alveolar consonants map as retroflexes rather than dentals. Two new characters were created in Gujarati to represent English /æ/'s and /ɔ/'s. Levels of Gujarati-ization in sound vary. Some words don't go far beyond this basic transpositional rule, and sound much like their English source, while others differ in ways, one of those ways being the carrying of dentals. See Indian English.
As English loanwards are a relatively new phenomenon, they adhere to English grammar, as tatsam words adhere to Sanskrit. Though that isn't to say that the most basic changes have been underway: many English words are pluralized with Gujarati o over English "s". Also, with Gujarati having three genders, genderless English words must take one. Though often inexplicable, gender assignment may follow the same basis as it is expressed in Gujarati: vowel type, and the nature of word meaning.
- 1 These English forms are often used (prominently by NRIs) for those family friends and elders that aren't actually uncles and aunts but are of the age.
The smaller foothold the Portuguese had in wider India had linguistic effects. Gujarati took up a number of words, while elsewhere the influence was great enough to the extent that creole languages came to be (see Portuguese India, Portuguese-based creole languages in India and Sri Lanka). Comparatively, the impact of Portuguese has been greater on coastal languages and their loans tend to be closer to the Portuguese originals. The source dialect of these loans imparts an earlier pronunciation of ch as an affricate instead of the current standard of [ʃ].
- 1 "Lengthen".
- 2 Common occupational surname.
- 3 "Master".
Loans into English
|“||1676, from Gujarati bangalo, from Hindi bangla "low, thatched house," lit. "Bengalese," used elliptically for "house in the Bengal style."||”|
|“||1598, "name given by Europeans to hired laborers in India and China," from Hindi quli "hired servant," probably from koli, name of an aboriginal tribe or caste in Gujarat.||”|
|“||c.1616, "pool or lake for irrigation or drinking water," a word originally brought by the Portuguese from India, ult. from Gujarati tankh "cistern, underground reservoir for water," Marathi tanken, or tanka "reservoir of water, tank." Perhaps from Skt. tadaga-m "pond, lake pool," and reinforced in later sense of "large artificial container for liquid" (1690) by Port. tanque "reservoir," from estancar "hold back a current of water," from V.L. *stanticare (see stanch). But others say the Port. word is the source of the Indian ones.||”|
Main article: Gujarati grammar
Gujarati is a head-final, or left-branching language. Adjectives precede nouns, direct objects come before verbs, and there are postpositions. The word order of Gujarati is SOV, and there are three genders and two numbers. There are no definite or indefinite articles. A verb is expressed with its verbal root followed by suffixes marking aspect and agreement in what is called a main form, with a possible proceeding auxiliary form derived from to be, marking tense and mood, and also showing agreement. Causatives (up to double) and passives have morphological basis'.
- Gujarati script —
- ગાંધીજીની ઝૂંપડી-કરાડી
- જગ પ્રસિદ્ધ દાંડી કૂચ પછી ગાંધીજીએ અહીં આંબાના વૃક્ષ નીચે ખજૂરી નાં છટિયાંની એક ઝૂંપડીમાં તા.૧૪-૪-૧૯૩૦ થી તા.૪-૫-૧૯૩૦ સુધી નિવાસ કર્યો હતો. દાંડીમાં છઠ્ઠી એપ્રિલે શરૂ કરેલી નિમક કાનૂન (મીઠાના સત્યાગ્રહ) ભંગની લડતને તેમણે અહીંથી વેગ આપી દેશ વ્યાપી બનાવી હતી. અહીંથી જ તેમણે ધરાસણાના મીઠાના અગરો તરફ કૂચ કરવાનો પોતાનો સંકલ્પ બ્રિટિશ વાઈસરૉયને પત્ર લખીને જણાવ્યો હતો.
- તા.૪થી મે ૧૯૩૦ની રાતના બાર વાગ્યા પછી આ સ્થળેથી બ્રિટિશ સરકારે તેમની ધરપકડ કરી હતી.
- Devanagari script –
- गांधीजीनी झूंपडी-कराडी
- जग प्रसिद्ध दांडी कूच पछी गांधीजीए अहीं आंबाना वृक्ष नीचे खजूरीनां छटियांनी एक झूंपडीमां ता.१४-४-१९३०थी ता.४-५-१९३० सुधी निवास कर्यो हतो. दांडीमां छठ्ठी एप्रिले शरू करेली निमक कानून भंगनी लडतने तेमणे अहींथी वेग आपी देश व्यापी बनावी हती. अहींथीज तेमणे धरासणाना मीठाना अगरो तरफ कूच करवानो पोतानो संकल्प ब्रिटिश वाईसरॉयने पत्र लखीने जणाव्यो हतो.
- ता.४थी मे १९३०नी रातना बार वाग्या पछी आ स्थळेथी ब्रिटिश सरकारे तेमनी धरपकड करी हती.
- Transliteration (IAST) —
- gāndhījīnī jhūmpḍī-karāḍī
- jag prasiddh dāṇḍī kūc pachī gāndhījīe ahī̃ āmbānā vrukṣ nīce khajūrī nā̃ chaṭiyānnī ek jhūmpḍīmā̃ tā.14-4-1930 thī tā.4-5-1930 sudhī nivās karyo hato. dāṇḍīmā̃ chaṭhṭhī eprile śarū karelī nimak kānūn (mīṭhānā satyāgraha) bhaṅgnī laḍatne temṇe ahīnthī veg āpī deś vyāpī banāvī hatī. ahīnthī ja temṇe dharāsṇānā mīṭhānā agro taraph kūc karvāno potāno saṅkalp briṭiś vāīsarôyane patra lakhīne jaṇāvyo hato.
- tā.4thī me 1930nī rātnā bār vāgyā pachī ā sthaḷethī briṭiś sarkāre temnī dharapkaḍ karī hatī.
- Transcription (IPA) —
- [ɡɑn̪d̪ʱid͡ʒini d͡ʒʱũpɽi-kəɾɑɽi]
- [d͡ʒəɡ pɾəsɪd̪d̪ʱ ɖɑɳɖi kut͡ʃ pət͡ʃʰi ɡɑn̪d̪ʱid͡ʒie ə̤ȷ̃ ɑmbɑnɑ ʋɾʊkʃ nit͡ʃe kʰəd͡ʒuɾnɑ̃ t͡ʃʰəʈijɑ̃ni ek d͡ʒʱũpɽimɑ̃ t̪ɑ _________t̪ʰi t̪ɑ|| _______ sud̪ʱi niʋɑs kəɾjot̪o|| ɖɑɳɖimɑ̃ t͡ʃʰəʈʰʈʰi epɾile ʃəɾu kəɾeli nimək kɑnun bʱəŋɡni ləɽət̪ne t̪ɛmɳe ə̤ȷ̃t̪ʰi ʋeɡ ɑpi deʃ ʋjɑpi bənɑʋit̪i|| ə̤ȷ̃t̪ʰid͡ʒ t̪ɛmɳe d̪ʱəɾɑsəɽ̃ɑnɑ miʈʰɑnɑ əɡəɾo t̪əɾəf kut͡ʃ kəɾʋɑno pot̪ɑno səŋkəlp bɾiʈiʃ ʋɑjsəɾɔjne pət̪ɾə ləkʰine d͡ʒəɽ̃ɑʋjot̪o]
- [t̪ɑ| __t̪ʰi me ____ni ɾɑt̪nɑ bɑɾ ʋɑɡjɑ pət͡ʃʰi ɑ st̪ʰəɭet̪ʰi bɾiʈiʃ səɾkɑɾe t̪ɛmni d̪ʱəɾpəkəɽ kəɾit̪i]
- Simple gloss —
- gandhiji's hut-karadi
- world famous dandi march after gandhiji here mango's tree under palm date's bark's one hut-in date.14-4-1930-from date.4-5-1930 until residence done was. dandi-in sixth april-at started done salt law break's fight (-to) he here-from speed gave country wide made was. here-from he dharasana's salt's mounds towards march doing's self's resolve british viceroy-to letter written-having notified was.
- date.4-from May 1930's night's twelve struck after this place-at-from British government his arrest done was.
- Transliteration and detailed gloss —
gāndhījī-n-ī jhū̃pṛ-ī-∅ Karāṛī gandhiji–GEN–FEM hut–FEM–SG karadi jag prasiddh dāṇḍī kūc pachī gāndhījī-e ahī̃ āmb-ā-∅-n-ā vṛkṣ nīce world famous dandi march after gandhiji–ERG here mango–MASC.OBL–SG–GEN–MASC.OBL tree under khajūr-ī-∅-n-ā̃ chaṭiy-ā̃-n-ī ek jhū̃pṛ-ī-∅-mā̃ tā. 14 4 1930thī tā. 4 5 1930 sudhī palmdate–FEM–SG–GEN–NEUT.OBL bark–NEUT.PL.OBL–GEN–FEM.OBL one hut–FEM–SG–in date 14 4 1930–from date until nivās kar-y-o ha-t-o . dāṇḍī-mā̃ chaṭhṭhī epril-e śarū kar-el-ī nimak residence.MASC.SG.OBJ.NOM do–PERF–MASC.SG be–PAST–MASC.SG dandi–in sixth April–at started do–PAST.PTCP–FEM salt kānūn bhaṅg-n-ī laṛat-∅-ne te-m-ṇe ahī̃-thī veg āp-ī deś vyāpī law break–GEN–FEM.OBL fight.FEM.OBJ–SG–ACC 3.DIST–HONORIFIC–ERG here–from speed–OBJ give–CONJUNCTIVE country wide ban-āv-∅-ī ha-t-ī . ahī̃-thī-j te-m-ṇe dharāsaṇā-n-ā become–CAUS–PERF–FEM be–PAST–FEM here–from–INTENSIFIER 3.DIST–HONORIFIC–ERG dharasana–GEN–MASC.PL mīṭh-ā-n-ā agar-o taraph kūc kar-v-ā-n-o potā-n-o salt–NEUT.SG.OBL–GEN–MASC.PL mound.MASC–PL towards march.MASC.SG do–INF–OBL–GEN–MASC.SG REFL–GEN–MASC.SG saṅkalp briṭiś vāīsarôy-∅-ne patra lakh-īne
For Jinnah, Gujarati was important only as mother tongue. He was neither born nor raised in Gujarat, and Gujarat did not end up a part of Pakistan, the state he espoused. He went on to advocate for solely Urdu in his politics.
For Gandhi, Gujarati served as a medium of literary expression. He helped to inspire a renewal in its literature, and in 1936 he introduced the current spelling convention at the Gujarati Literary Society's 12th meeting.
The text is a Prakrit didactic work of how best to live a proper Jain life, aimed probably at the laity. The Svetambara pontiff, Sri Dharmadasagaî, lived in the mid-6th century. The Old Gujarati prose commentary was written in 1487. The colophon gives the place, date, and the name of the religious leader, Sri Namdalalaji, on whose order the work was transcribed.
Trees and Your Environment
We're proud of the thousands of trees we have been responsible for planning through donations to Trees for the Future . Here's a look at why we think that trees are important at Clean Air Gardening, and why we'll continue planting more of them.
Planting trees in your neighborhood really is one of the best things you can do for the local environment and for the planet. It’s no secret that trees help the environment, but you may be surprised by all the benefits that planting trees can provide. Besides producing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide and contaminants from the air, trees have many other social, economic, and environmental benefits.
Environmental Benefits of Planting Trees
Trees are like the lungs of the planet. They breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. Additionally, they provide habitat for birds and other wildlife. But that’s not all trees do for us! To see just how much trees are essential to the planet and to humans, let’s look at the following statistics:
- CO2 is one of the major contributing elements to the greenhouse effect. Trees trap CO2 from the atmosphere and make carbohydrates that are used for plant growth. They give us oxygen in return. According to ColoradoTree.org, about 800 million tons of carbon are stored in the trees that make up the urban forests of the U.S. This translates to a savings of $22 billion in control costs. Mature trees can absorb roughly 48 pounds of CO2 a year. The tree in turn releases enough oxygen to sustain two human beings.
- Trees also help to reduce ozone levels in urban areas. In New York City, a 10 percent increase in urban canopy translated to a reduction of peak ozone levels by around 4 parts per billion. (Source: Luley, Christopher J.; Nowak, David J. 2004. Help Clear the Smog with Your Urban Forest: What You and Your Urban Forest Can Do About Ozone.)
- Trees reduce urban runoff and erosion by storing water and breaking the force of rain as it falls. The USDA reports that 100 mature trees can reduce runoff caused by rainfall by up to 100,000 gallons!
- Trees also absorb sound and reduce noise pollution. This is especially important for people who live near freeways. In some cases, a well planted group of trees can reduce noise pollution by up to 10 decibels. (Source: New Jersey Forest Service.)
How Trees Help to Save Energy
Planting trees can also help cool your home in the summer. The Arbor Day Foundation states that the overall effect of the shade created by planting a healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners running 20 hours a day!
In the winter, trees can act as windbreaks for your home and will help you save on heating costs. The Journal of Horticulture claims that saving on heating costs can reach as much as 25 percent!
Trees shade buildings, streets, and homes. If enough trees are planted in cities, the overall microclimate improves and total energy use for heating and cooling is reduced. The EPA has some great information on how planting trees and other vegetation can help to reduce the overall high temperature of your city!
Social and Economic Benefits of Planting Trees
Health Benefits of Nature
Just being around trees makes you feel good. Can you imagine your community without trees? Trees, especially in urban areas, have numerous social benefits. For example, the addition of trees to a neighborhood or a business district can greatly improve the mental and physical health of residents and workers. In fact, the University of Cambridge did a study on job satisfaction of employees of business with a view of trees from their office. They found that these employees suffered from fewer diseases than workers without a view of trees. See here for more information on the study.
Another example is with children with learning disorders. As a form of therapy, children that suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can benefit from the presence of trees and other greenery. Kids with ADHD have been proven to be calmer, more responsive, and better able to concentrate when in a space with lots of trees. (Source: Taylor, A.F.; Kuo, F.; Sullivan,W. 2001. Coping with ADD: The Surprising Connection to Green Play Settings. Environment and Behavior)
Trees and their Benefits for Neighborhoods
Additionally, have you considered that planting a tree can significantly increase your property values? As an example, the U.S. Tax Court recently calculated a value of 9 percent ($15,000) for the removal of a large black oak on a piece of property valued at $164,500. (Source: Neely, D., ed. 1988. Valuation of Landscape Trees, Shrubs, and Other Plants.)
Houses with trees are also more attractive to visitors, potential buyers, and neighbors. Neighborhoods with lots of trees also report less crime! (Source: Kuo, F.; Sullivan,W. 2001. Environment and Crime in the Inner City: Does Vegetation Reduce Crime? Environment and Behavior 33(3).) There is no doubt that if you plant trees in your community, people will see and feel the difference.
As you can see, it's clear that trees are essential to our life on the planet. The great thing is that we as humans can play an active role in planting trees to help offset deforestation and urbanization. Not only can you plant trees in your yard, you can also get involved in local tree planting activities on Arbor Day.
If you need more reasons to plant trees, the United States Department of Agriculture has a complete list of statistics regarding the environmental, economic, and social benefits of planting trees. Some of the statistics from this article are included in the PDF file referenced above, as well as many others.
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