Chicago, IL (September 5, 2013) – Certified master arborist and forestry instructor, R.J. Laverne hates seeing entire city blocks denuded of trees by the emerald ash borer. But as a doctoral student, he realizes that the tiny green beetle is giving him a once-in-a-generation research opportunity. Laverne is studying what the loss of a tree canopy means to an urban neighborhood and its residents by studying a neighborhood’s soundscape — what it sounded like when it had trees, and what it sounded like after they were gone.
Because the emerald ash borer works so quickly, he can gather a lot of data in a relatively short time. Laverne hopes to show that trees do more than clean the air, control storm runoff and make our yards look nice; he says they’re good for our state of mind. “If I can demonstrate the value of trees beyond shade and air quality, beyond increasing property values, if I can show these trees are important to people’s mental health, that’s all that much more reason cities will replant,” he says.
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Source: “Ash borer provides an opening for research into urban noise” (Chicago Tribune)