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.

City “Greenness” Associated with Improved Birth Outcomes

By Perry Hystad, Hugh W. Davies, Lawrence Frank, Josh Van Loon, Ulrike Gehring, Lillian Tamburic, and Michael Brauer

Vancouver, BC (October 2014) — With half of the world’s population living in cities, a number expected to top 60% by 2050, a growing body of research is focused on the built environment and human health. A recent study conducted in Vancouver, BC, explored the associations between residential greenness and birth outcomes, holding for other built environmental factors.

Planted-Tree Survival and Growth in Urban Neighborhoods

By Jessica M. Vogt, Shannon Lea Watkins, Sarah K. Mincey, Matthew S. Patterson, and Burnell C. Fischer

Indianapolis, IN (January 2015) — Tree-planting success in urban environments is not well understood. New research out of Indiana University — Bloomington, uses a data set of over 1300 trees planted in Indianapolis to understand what characteristics predict survival and growth of trees in neighborhood tree-planting projects. Findings suggest that tree characteristics more strongly influence tree growth than survival, and characteristics of the biophysical environment, community, and institutions influence both survival and tree growth.

New Research Evaluates Disparities of ‘Free Tree’ Programs

By Dexter H. Locke and J. Morgan Grove

Washington, DC (December 4, 2014) — Recruiting residents to plant trees can be hard work. A new study, which looked at neighborhoods in Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD, finds that programs might be most successful where it is easiest but have the lowest need.

New Research on Smart Phone Training for Citizen Scientists

Durham, NH (November 5, 2014) — New research funded by Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry shows that smartphone-based training is as effective as in-person training in helping citizen scientists to recognize invasive plants. Traditional in-person training, while effective, can become prohibitively expensive over broad geographic areas. These results show potential to help grow the field of citizen science.

A Dose of Nature: Tree Cover, Stress Reduction, and Gender Differences

Champaign, IL (October 22, 2014) — Viewing 3-D videos of tree-lined residential streets significantly helps people recover from stressful events according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Illinois. While many studies have affirmed nature’s ability to reduce stress, this research describes the impact of various levels of exposure to tree canopy, establishing a “dose-response curve.”

Greener Neighborhoods Lead to Better Birth Outcomes

Corvallis, OR (September 4, 2014) — Mothers who live in neighborhoods with plenty of grass, trees or other green vegetation are more likely to deliver at full term and their babies are born at higher weights, compared to mothers who live in urban areas that aren’t as green, according to a new study.

Growing Phoenix’s Urban Forest Offers Cooling Potential

Phoenix, AZ (September 23, 2014) — Increasing tree canopy proves superior to cool roofs as an effective tool to mitigate the urban heat island effect created by the buildings, concrete, and pavement in Phoenix neighborhoods, according to Arizona State University (ASU) scientists.

University of Florida Study Confirms Value of Large-Scale Tree Planting Projects

Gainesville, FL (September 17, 2014) — A University of Florida study lends support to cities investing in large-scale tree-planting projects. Using data from the Florida Forest Service, researchers found a 93% urban tree survival rate 5 years after planting. What’s key: Choosing the right tree and performing Forest Service recommended maintenance.


Reforestation Near Metro Areas May Offer Cost-Effective Ozone Reduction

Arlington, VA (September 8, 2014) — A new study suggests that large-scale peri-urban forest restoration, or replanting trees around an urban periphery, can help reduce air pollution abatement and compliance costs, while at the same time providing benefits to nature and people that conventional, technological pollution controls do not deliver.