Importance of trees Trees play an especially important role in enhancing our quality of life in the urban environment and this is acknowledged in the Governments Sustainable Development Strategy. They screen unsightly structures and activities, give privacy and soften the hard lines of buildings. Trees also bring colour and contrasts into the urban environment. Not only do trees have a visual quality, but they also enhance the environment in less obvious ways. Trees improve air quality by acting as natural air filters removing dust, smoke and fumes from the atmosphere by trapping them on their leaves, branches and trunks. Just 1 hectare of beech woodland can extract 4 tonnes of dust per year from the atmosphere. Trees reduce the 'Greenhouse' effect by removing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing oxygen. Each year a mature tree produces enough oxygen for 10 people. Trees are also an effective sound barrier and can limit noise pollution. Recent research shows that trees also help reduce the stress of modern life. Trees in themselves benefit the environment and the landscape, but they are also an integral part of the ecosystem providing benefits to wildlife and biodiversity. Trees, especially older or veteran trees and those in groups or woodlands, provide habitats for native ground flora such as bluebells and fauna, particularly bats, red squirrels and invertebrates. The planting of trees and the care and preservation of mature trees can go a long way to making Trafford a great place to live, work learn and relax.