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.

New Research: Students Learn Better In Classroom With View Of Trees

By Dongying Li and William C. Sullivan

Champaign, IL (February 3, 2016) – A new study of high school students in central Illinois found that students with a view of trees were able to recover their ability to pay attention and bounce back from stress more rapidly than those who looked out on a parking lot or had no windows. The University of Illinois researchers reported their findings in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning.

New Research Reveals How Thirsty Trees Pull Water To Their Canopy

Leicester, England (January 20, 2016) – A scientific mystery about how trees pull water from the ground to their top branches has been solved by an international team of researchers from the University of Leicester and the Queensland University of Technology, Australia. The discovery overturns 400 year-old barometric limit theory.

Identifying Most Powerful Design Elements In City Parks

By Henry Grabar for Next City

Annapolis, MD (January 6, 2016) – Nature’s soothing power is a foundational tenet of design — and its benefits are supported by growing research. Even the simplest natural pockets of green space are packed with overlapping triggers. But how do you determine which features of a city park, in isolation or in concert, are giving visitors a feeling of respite?

Urban Forestry Quantitative Effect On Ambient Air Quality

By P.J. Irga, M.D. Burchett, F.R. Torpy

Sydney, AU (November 2015) – In response to proposed urban greenspaces as a means to reduce airborne pollutants, new research on eleven sites in central Sydney finds localized differences in particulate matter across the locations. Among other findings, areas of high urban forestry density show lower particulate matter.

Journal Releases Special Update On Urban Forests And Ecosystem Services

Madison, WI (January 4, 2016) – The January–February 2016 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality (JEQ) includes a special section titled “The Urban Forest and Ecosystem Services.” Here’s an interview with guest editor Steven Livesley of the University of Melbourne in Richmond, Victoria, Australia, with details on why this special update is needed and what’s inside.

Results: Long-Term Monitoring Of Sacramento Shade Program Trees

By Yekang Ko, Jun-Hak Lee, E. Gregory McPherson, and Lara A. Roman

Sacramento, CA (November, 2015) – U.S. Forest Service researchers have completed their assessment of Sacramento Shade Program tree survivorship, growth, and energy performance over 22 years. Results show survivorship was 42.4% in residential areas, substantially lower than the initial projection.

Upgrading Soil To Ensure Trees Survive To Maturity

Madison, WI (December 11, 2015) – Trees provide extraordinary benefits to life in the city. But for real return on the investment, trees must mature. Trees fail in urban areas for a variety of reasons, including disease, improper planting, heat, and drought. All of these things — and more — can impact survival, but soil scientist Bryant Scharenbroch believes upgrading the soil with organic matter is key. According to Scharenbroch, the problem of urban soil is fairly simple: it’s often barely soil at all.

Can Trees Really Cool Down Our Cities?

Source: Roland Ennos, Professor of Biomechanics, University of Hull, “Can trees really cool our cities down? The Conversation

Yorkshire, UK (December 22, 2015) – In cities around the world, trees are often planted to help control temperatures and mitigate the effects of the “urban heat island.” But while trees have been called “nature’s air conditioners,” in practice, scientists often have difficulty demonstrating their cooling properties.

Large Parks, Contiguous Green Spaces Key To A City’s Success

Exeter, UK (September 1, 2015) – More than half the world’s population now lives in cities. As numbers continue to swell, decision-makers across the globe grapple with how best to accommodate growing resident numbers while maintaining healthy urban ecosystems. New research finds cities should feature compact development alongside large, contiguous green spaces to maximize benefits of urban ecosystems to residents.

Can Pollution Help Trees Fight Infection?

Montreal, Quebec (June 29, 2015) – Trees that can tolerate soil pollution are also better at defending themselves against pests and pathogens, according to new research. “It looks like the very act of tolerating chemical pollution may give trees an advantage from biological invasion,” says Dr Frederic E. Pitre of the University of Montreal and one of the researchers behind the discovery.