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.
By Deborah Martin and John Rogan, associate professors in the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University, Worcester, MA
Worcester, MA (May 21, 2013) – Research at Clark University in Worcester, MA, where 30,000 trees have been removed since the Asian Longhorn Beetle was found in the area, looked at various aspects of the infestation and responses to it. Their findings cast new light on the ALB situation as it relates to urban forests generally. They warn that while tree loss from ALB is a danger, tree loss due to urban development was double the number of trees removed as a result of ALB infestation.
By Timothy Van Renterghema, Maarten Hornikxb, Jens Forssenc, and Dick Botteldoorena
Belgium (March 2013) — According to new research out of the EU, trees and plants can play a role in helping to quiet areas in cities and towns by softening the urban environment and reducing noise. Researchers found, in particular, that green roofs have the potential to significantly reduce road traffic noise in the urban environment. The results suggest that greening of roofs and walls with materials suitable for growing plants softens the urban environment keeping sound levels low, whereas hard, man-made structures tend to amplify traffic noise.
Washington, DC (February 25–26, 2013) - In February 2013, the National Academy of Sciences convened a workshop, “Urban Forestry: Toward an Ecosystem Services Research Agenda,” to move forward on targeted goals around identifying capabilities, challenges, and opportunities for advancing urban forestry. This multi-stakeholder event included research and information on ecosystems benefits from trees, quantifying economic values, policy, and key research gaps. Here’s a full wrap-up of workshop presentations.
By Lucy E. Keniger, Kevin J. Gaston, Katherine N. Irvine, and Richard A. Fuller
Australia March 16, 2013) — This literature review documents a broad range of the benefits of interacting with nature. It has been shown that interactions with nature can deliver a range of psychological well-being, cognitive, physiological, social, tangible and spiritual benefits and that access to green space and natural areas is important for facilitating activities that are beneficial for human well-being. However, because the evidence is mostly descriptive, little is known about the mechanisms that are important for delivering these benefits and so key questions still remain.
By Alexandre Ponomarenko, Olivier Vincent, and Philippe Marmottant
Baltimore, MD (March 21, 2013) — A team of French researchers presented findings at the 2013 American Physical Society meeting in Baltimore, MD, identifying the connection between tree noises related to drought impacts. In the lab, they captured the ultrasonic noise made by bubbles forming inside water-stressed trees. Because trees also make noises that aren’t related to drought impact, scientists had previously not been able to discern which sounds were of concern. The discovery could help scientists figure out when trees are parched and need emergency watering.
By Alphus D. Wilson
Asheville, NC (April 11, 2013) — Electronic-nose (e-nose) instruments, derived from numerous types of aroma-sensor technologies, have been developed for a diversity of applications in the broad fields of agriculture and forestry. Recent advances in e-nose technologies within the plant sciences, including improvements in gas-sensor designs, innovations in data analysis and pattern-recognition algorithms, and progress in material science and systems integration methods, have led to significant benefits to both industries.
By David J. Nowak, Allison R. Bodine, Robert E. Hoehn, III, Daniel E. Crane, Alexis Ellis, Theodore A. Endreny, Yang Yang, Tom Jacobs, Kassie Shelton
Newtown Square, PA (March 4, 2013) — An analysis of trees in the greater Kansas City region of Missouri and Kansas reveals that this area has about 249,450,000 trees with tree and shrub canopy that covers 28.3 percent of the region. The most common tree species are American elm, northern hackberry, Osage-orange, honeylocust, and eastern redcedar. Trees in the greater Kansas City region currently store about 19.9 million tons of carbon (72.8 million tons CO2) valued at $411 million.
By Matthew White, Ian Alcock, Benedict Wheeler, and Michael Depledge of the University of Exeter.
Washington, DC (April 22, 2013) — New research finds that people who live in urban areas with more green space tend to report greater well-being than city dwellers who don’t have parks, trees, or other green space nearby. Survey respondents reported less mental distress and higher life satisfaction when they were living in greener areas, even accounting for changes in participants’ income, employment, marital status, physical health, and housing.
By David J. Nowak, Eric J. Greenfield, Robert E. Hoehn, and Elizabeth Lapoint
Newtown Square, PA (April 15, 2013) – U.S. Forest Service researchers, led by David J. Nowak, quantified carbon storage and sequestration by urban trees in the U.S. to assess the magnitude and role of urban forests in relation to climate change. Their results: U.S. urban forests sequester estimated 25.6 million tonnes of carbon every year, at a value of $2 billion. In addition, they store an estimate 643 million tonnes, at a value of $50+ billion.
By Mary K. Wolfe and Jeremy Mennis, Temple University
Philadelphia, PA (December 2012) — There is longstanding belief that vegetation encourages crime as it can conceal criminal activity. Other studies, however, have shown that urban residential areas with well-maintained vegetation experience lower rates of certain crime types due to increased surveillance in vegetated spaces as well as the therapeutic effects ascribed to vegetated landscapes. The present research analyzes the association of vegetation with crime in a case study of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.