Tree Research

To help local tree advocates make the case for trees in their communities, ACTrees has compiled Benefits of Trees and Urban Forests: A Research List.  This research listing includes over 150 tree benefits and facts, ranging from the national to the hyper-local level, and all with complete scientific citations. This information tells the story of trees in dollars and cents, in pounds and percents, with compelling data about why maintaining and growing a healthy urban forest is a smart, sustainable investment. Learn more.

And check out other current research that may be of interest to those in the urban greening community. For a full list of research, visit the Research Archive.

What Are Trees Worth To Cities?

Washington, DC (April 21, 2016) – U.S. Forest Service scientist Dave Nowak sums up 30 years of studying the economic value of forests to this advice: If you can only plant one tree, plant it in a city. In an era of overwhelming need for urban infrastructure improvements, trees offer cities some of the best bang for their buck. Here’s why.

Greening Up: Another Tool To Fight Crime?

Washington, DC (April 13, 2016) – U.S. Forest Service research scientist Michelle Kondo’s presentation at the recent Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition annual meeting inspired The Atlantic journalist Julian Spector to author “Another Reason to Love Urban Green Space: It Fights Crime.” A new body of on-the-ground evidence in three communities is demonstrating that adding greenery in vacant or gray settings reduces criminal activity nearby.

Living Near Greenspace May Help You Live Longer

By Peter James, Jaime E. Hart, Rachel F. Banay, and Francine Laden

Boston, MA (April 14, 2016) – New research out of Harvard finds that higher levels of green vegetation are associated with decreased mortality. Women living in the highest one-fifth of cumulative average greenness in the 250m area around their home had a 12% lower rate of all-cause non-accidental mortality compared to those in the lowest quintile. The gap was higher for certain diseases.

Why Conserve Small Forest Fragments and Individual Trees in Urban Areas?

By Mark Hostetler

Gainesville, FL (March 6, 2016) – For many developers and city planners, it takes time and money to plan around trees and small forest fragments. Often, the message from conservationists is to avoid fragmentation and conserve large forested areas. While this goal is important, the message tends to negate any thoughts by developers towards conserving individual mature trees and small forest fragments. Mark Hostetler, University of Florida, describes how fragmented landscapes have value for migrating birds, humans, and the environment.

Forest Service Publishes Primer On Urban Tree Mortality Rates

By Roman, Lara A. Battles, John J. McBride, Joe R.

Newtown Square, PA (April 1, 2016) – Many urban forestry professionals try to collect data about tree mortality, survival or survivability, but what do these terms mean? A new report from the U.S. Forest Service adapts concepts and calculations from demography to urban trees.

Cooling And Energy Saving Potential Of Shade Trees

By Zhi-Hua Wang, Xiaoxi Zhao, Jiachuan Yang, Jiyun Song

Phoenix, AZ (January 2016) – The use of urban vegetation in cities is a common landscape planning strategy to alleviate the heat island effect as well as to enhance building energy efficiency. While the presence of trees in street canyons can effectively reduce environmental temperature via radiative shading, it is difficult to predict the radiative heat exchange in canyons.

The Emerging Role of Ecosystem Services in Preventive Medicine

By Jennings, Viniece L.; Larson, Claire K.; Larson, Lincoln R.

Asheville, NC (February 23, 2016) – Modern public health challenges require interdisciplinary solutions that integrate knowledge of human behavior and its complex relationship with the physical environment. There’s growing evidence that spending time in forests, gardens, or parks may improve physical and mental health, and many environmental scientists have embraced the concept of ecosystem services as a framework for understanding how nature contributes to human well-being. But integration of the natural environment into preventive medicine policy and practice has been slow.

Greenery (or Even Photos of Trees) Can Make Us Happier

Amsterdam, The Netherlands (March 17, 2016) – A growing body of research shows that people who spend time outside in natural green spaces tend to be happier and healthier than those who don’t. Precisely what is going on inside our bodies as we move through the greenery is largely unknown, however.  A new study published in The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health takes a step towards understanding by focusing on pictures of the outdoors rather than on the real thing.

Flooding Alleviated By Targeted Tree Planting And River Restoration

Birmingham, UK (March 10, 2016) – A study by an international team of scientists, led by the Universities of Birmingham and Southampton, has shown that strategic planting of trees on floodplains could reduce the height of flooding in towns downstream by up to 20 percent, according to research published in the journal Earth Surface Processes and Landforms.