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.

Urban Tree Planting To Maximize Ecosystem Services

By E.W. Bodnaruk, C.N. Kroll, Y. Yang, S. Hirabayashi, D.J. Nowak, T.A. Endreny

Syracuse, NY (September 16, 2016) – Urban trees can help mitigate some environmental degradation linked to rapid urbanization. In response, many municipalities are implementing ambitious tree planting programs to help remove air pollution, mitigate urban heat island effects, and provide other ecosystem services and benefits. New research offers quantitative tools to explore priority planting locations and potential tradeoffs between services.


Urban Forestry Project Ties Nature To Health Care Spending

Champaign, IL (October 7, 2016) – While studies suggest a hearty dose of nature may be an effective antidote for many physical and psychological ailments, no one has calculated how much nature’s greenery saves on health care costs. A new research project intends to do just that: explore how urban forestry affects health care spending, and then build a free online modeling tool city arborists can use to estimate their communities’ potential rate of return on their investments in parks and other natural elements.

Urban Warming Slows Tree Growth, Photosynthesis

Raleigh, NC (October 5, 2016) – New research from North Carolina State University finds that urban warming reduces growth and photosynthesis in city trees. The researchers found that insect pests are part of the problem, but that heat itself plays a more significant role.

Trees Have Social Networks, Too

Cleveland trees

Washington, DC (October 7, 2016) – A walk among the trees might feel a lot different after reading“The Hidden Life of Trees,” which makes the case for trees as social beings that communicate, feel, and help each other. The book, published in Germany last year and now available to U.S. readers, is causing a stir.

Balancing The Costs And Pay Back Of Urban Trees

Gainesville, FL (October 5, 2016) – Trees shade homes and help clean city air. But their production in the nursery and maintenance in the landscape requires energy and material resources. Some of those processes are mechanized and release greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. Understanding this balance between tree environmental costs and benefits is crucial to those who plan and plant urban forests.

Tree Cover Contributes To Increased Property Values

By Shyamani D. Siriwardena, Kevin Boyle, Thomas P. Holmes and P. Eric Wiseman

Blacksburg, VA (September 28, 2016) – Urban forestry experts have long suggested that tree canopy cover in residential and urban areas is essential to maintaining a healthy ecosystem in those communities, but a new study suggests that tree cover may also contribute to increased property values.

Evaluating Tree Cover Density Measurement Tools

By Bin Jiang, Brian Deal, HaoZhi Pan, Linda Larsen, Chung-Heng Hsieh, Chun-Yen Chang, William C. Sullivan

Urbana, IL (July 27, 2016) – The easy availability and widespread use of remotely-sensed imagery, especially Google Earth satellite imagery, makes it simple for urban forestry professionals to assess a site and measure tree cover density without visiting the site. Remotely-sensed tree cover density has become the dominant criterion for urban forestry regulations, but it is unclear how much such measures match the eye-level tree cover density that people experience.

Multiple Health Benefits Of Urban Tree Canopy

By Jared M. Ulmer, Kathleen L. Wolf, Desiree R. Backman, Raymond L. Tretheway, Cynthia JA Blaine, Jarlath PM O’Neil-Dunne and Lawrence D. Frank

Rochester, NY (September 14, 2016) – According to new research, there is mounting evidence for a “green prescription.” The study findings enhance our understanding of the health-promoting potential of trees in an urbanized region of the U.S.

Caltech Engineers Teach Machines To Recognize Tree Species

Pasadena, CA (September 14, 2016) – Engineers from Caltech have developed a method that uses data from satellite and street-level images, such as the ones that you can see in Google maps, to create automatically an inventory of street trees that cities may use to better manage urban forests.

A Homeowners Guide to Dealing with Storm-Damaged Trees

By U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station, and adapted from a factsheet prepared by the Arkansas Forestry Commission

Asheville, NC (September 6, 2016) – Whether trees are damaged by hurricanes, tornadoes, intense rainstorms, or ice storms, they need to be carefully assessed to ensure the safety of homeowners and property. It’s also important to carefully assess whether a damaged tree can be saved, and if so, what actions can be taken to ensure and maintain optimal health.