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.

Watershed Scientists Offer National Flood and Runoff Assessment

Amherst, MA (September 18, 2015) — The first continent-wide, multi-factor analysis of climate and land cover effects on watersheds in the U.S. has been released, and provides a broad new assessment of runoff, flooding and storm water management options for land use and town planners and water quality managers. Recommendations include the increased use of green infrastructure and best management practices to enhance watershed system resilience.

Trees Help Disperse Pollution In Urban Centers

Leicester, UK (September 3, 2015) — A new study conducted at the University of Leicester has concluded that trees could help to disperse pollution in cities across the country, purifying the air we breathe and reducing pedestrian pollution by up to 7%.

Modeling How Green Infrastructure Impacts Urban Runoff

By Yang Yang, Theodore A. Endreny, and David J. Nowak

Syracuse, NY (September 11, 2015) — New U.S. Forest Service research introduces a modeling tool that can be calibrated to match observed runoff or an entire watershed. The model is used to estimate how land cover changes will affect runoff timing and magnitude, allowing for more informed watershed restoration planning, urban planning and targeted placement of green infrastructure.

Are Urban Trees A Remedy For Noise Pollution?

By Angel M. Dzhambova and Donka D. Dimitrova

Plovdiv, Bulgaria (September 16, 2015) — Does living closer to trees and green space reduce noise annoyance and sensitivity? That’s the premise behind a new study that explores how urban green spaces constitute an important factor in ameliorating the negative perception of noise in cities.

NASA Research Explains Why You Should Live In A Tree-Lined City

By Lahouari Bounoua, Ping Zhang, Georgy Mostovoy, Kurtis Thome, Jeffrey Masek, Marc Imhoff, Marshall Shepherd, Dale Quattrochi, Joseph Santanello, Julie Silva, Robert Wolfe and Ally Mounirou Toure

Washington, DC (August 12, 2015) — A new NASA study shows that trees and plant-life are essential to keeping our cities cool and not just because they’re nice to sit under on a sunny day. The amount of green space in a city has a big effect on just how hot urban heat islands can get. They explain using a land model to assess the impact of urbanization on U.S. surface climate.

Benefits Of Restoring Ecosystem Services In Urban Areas

By T. Elmqvist, H. Setala, S.N. Handel, S. van der Ploeg, J. Aronson, J.N. Blignaut, E. Gomez-Baggethun, D.J. Nowak, J. Kronenberg, and R. de Groot

Syracuse, NY (May 2015) — New research gathering data from 25 urban areas in the US, Canada, and China analyzes the extent that investments in green infrastructure in urban landscapes can bring multiple monetary and non-monetary benefits to society and human well-being, contributing to maintenance of biodiversity, and development of more resilient urban areas.

Global Tree Count Reaches Three Trillion

New Haven, CT (September 2, 2015) — According to a new study, “Mapping tree density at a global scale,” published in the journal Nature, there are approximately 3.04 trillion trees on Earth. That’s about 400 trees for every person. And while that may seem like a lot, over 15 billion trees are cut down each year, and the global number of trees has fallen by 46 percent since the start of human civilization.

Assessing the Quantity and Quality of Green Space and Health Benefits

By Magdalena van den Berg, Wanda Wendel-Vos, Mireille van Poppel, Han Kemper, Willem van Mechelen, and Jolanda Maas

Amsterdam (August 1, 2015) — In a first systematic review on health benefits of green spaces, researchers found living in greener environments is associated with better mental health and lower all-cause mortality, although more research is needed on specific health outcomes and different population groups. Another big takeaway is that the focus should shift from quantity of green space to quality as it relates to health outcomes.

Link Between Green Space And Well-Being Not So Clear Cut

By Le E. Saw, Felix K. S. Lim, and Luis R. Carrasco

Singapore (August 14, 2015) — A new study published in PLOS ONE finds that it’s not as simple as “nature makes people happy.” Scientists at the National University of Singapore surveyed students across the island state to determine the relationship between use of natural parks and self-reported well-being.

Estimating the Economic Value Of “Metro Nature” Benefits

By Kathleen L. Wolf, Marcus K. Measells, Stephen C. Grado, and Alicia S.T. Robbins

Seattle, WA (June 29, 2015) — The presence of greenspace and nature in metro areas allows for daily environmental interactions, and a substantial body of evidence demonstrates their benefits to physical health and well-being. Estimates of the economic values of these benefits, however, have lagged. New research estimates those values and estrapolates to a national scale.