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.

Moss On Urban Trees Helps Identify Pollution Hot Spot

By Yasmeen Sands, U.S. Forest Service

Portland, OR (May 18, 2016) – In December 2013 when Sarah Jovan and Geoffrey Donovan, two scientists with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station in Portland, Oregon, crisscrossed the northwest area of their city they had no idea they were onto something big. Though their research focus seemed straightforward enough: determine if moss, in particular, the ubiquitous Lyell’s orthotrichum moss which grows abundantly across much of the city, could help measure urban air pollution.
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The Role of Native Species In Urban Forest Planning And Practice

By Andrew D. Almas and Tenley M. Conway

Mississauga, ON (April 11, 2016) – In recent years, many North American municipalities have adopted urban forest management plans. These plans typically include ambitious tree planting goals, with a focus on increasing native species’ presence. Having a high percentage of native species can increase ecological integrity, but there are also benefits associated with planting non-native trees in urban forests.
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Building The Best Technology For Urban Tree Monitoring

Philadelphia, PA (May 11, 2016) – Growing a vibrant urban forest requires maintenance, stewardship, and the regular planting of new trees. A new report prepared by Azavea for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) and the USDA Forest Service Philadelphia Field Station explores how technology can be used to support the long-term systematic monitoring of urban trees, assist with tree planting and maintenance data processes, and enable data to be organized and shared between researchers and practitioners.
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New Study Calls For U.S. To Step-Up Forest Pest Prevention

Millbrook, NY (May 10, 2016) – Imported forest pests cause $4.5 billion in damages each year, and U.S. property owners and municipalities pay most of the bill. Efforts to prevent new pests are not keeping pace with escalating trade and must be strengthened to slow the loss of our nation’s trees. So reports a team of 16 scientists in a new paper published in the journal Ecological Applications. They outline five recommendations to significantly slow the import of exotic tree pests.
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Public Attitudes About Urban Forest Management

By Joshua W.R. Baur, Joanne F. Tynon, Paul Ries, Randall S. Rosenberger

Corvallis, OR (April 1, 2016) – New research investigates four cities in Oregon to better understand how natural resource management efforts can consider the human dimension of urban forest ecosystems. As urban populations grow, this will be key to urban forest planning that better supports what homeowners and renters perceive as valuable.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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