"The benefits of trees in the city are many, ranging from increasing safety for both pedestrians and vehicles to helping to regulate the climate; from increasing business profits and property values to reducing topsoil erosion and filtering groundwater. There is even compelling research showing that treed streets decrease road rage and other violence. Each tree is like a barrier from urban blight, and my ginkgo leaves are a tiny effort to add a tree – if only symbolically – to a Somerville neighborhood that could really use one.
While trees in general help to maintain air quality in cities by filtering air, land, and noise pollutants, the ginkgo is especially suited for the urban environment due to its ability to withstand environmental stressors such as parasites, soil compaction, and even excess salt (ahem, Somerville DPW :-) ). As the oldest living species of tree, its exceptionally large genome (over three times ours) includes a level of chemical and antibacterial defense mechanisms unseen in other species. Medicinally, ginkgo is most used as a vasodilator, increasing circulation to the brain and protecting it from oxidative damage.
Although trained as an herbalist, I now spend more time in the studio; so this subject matter seemed to offer a perfect combination, and a tree as mighty and as durable as this seemed a noble model."
Nancy Anderson, Dec. 2016
For more information on the benefits of trees in urban areas, check out this pdf.