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.

Selecting Trees To Grow In Cities

Albany, CA (November 2, 2016) – Selecting the right tree for the right space in an urban setting can be the difference between a landscaping dream and a maintenance nightmare. The U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station has now launched the most extensive database available cataloging urban trees with their projected growth tailored to specific geographic regions.

Urban Trees Can Save Lives By Reducing Air Pollution and Temperature

Denver, CO / Arlington, VA (October 31, 2016) – A new study from The Nature Conservancy finds that an investment in tree planting of just US $4 per resident in some of the world’s largest cities could improve the health of tens of millions of people by reducing air pollution and cooling city streets.

Using Urban Forests To Manage Stormwater

Knoxville, TN (November 1, 2016) – Urban forests can function as part of a city’s stormwater control system by intercepting rainfall and regulating the flow of water to and through the soil. Forests efficiently store stormwater, return water to the atmosphere, and filter pollutants from runoff. The U.S. Forest Service recently reviewed the current research on trees and the urban water cycle, including best management practices.

Forecasting Urban Forest Ecosystem Structure, Function, and Vulnerability

By James W. N. Steenberg, Andrew A. Millward, David J. Nowak, Pamela J. Robinson, Alexis Ellis

Toronto, Canada (October 24, 2016) – The benefits derived from urban forest ecosystems are garnering increasing attention in ecological research and municipal planning. However, because of their location in heterogeneous and highly-altered urban landscapes, urban forests are vulnerable and commonly suffer disproportionate and varying levels of stress and disturbance.

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.