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.

Testing of Urban Forest Sustainability and Management Audit System

Decatur, GA (April 22, 2015) — An audit system developed by the U.S. Forest Service to help urban forest programs benchmark their resources and program capacity was recently beta tested at Agnes Scott College. The goal of new audit system is to provide direction for municipal, college, or corporate campus urban forest management programs and plans.
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Proceedings Published: Trees, People, and the Built Environment II

Burmingham, UK (April 8, 2015) — Proceedings from the 2014 Trees People and the Built Environment II (TPBEII) conference, the international urban tree research event, are now available online. Key themes covered include the environmental, economic and social benefits of urban trees and woodland, featuring research and case studies from around the world.
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Strong Correlation Between Canopy Cover and Income Level

By Schwarz K, Fragkias M, Boone CG, Zhou W, McHale M, et al.

Highland Heights, KY (April 1, 2015) — “Trees grow on money” according to a new study published in PLOS ONE. It examines the distributional equity of urban tree canopy (UTC) cover for Baltimore, MD, Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Raleigh, NC, Sacramento, CA, and Washington, D.C. using high spatial resolution land cover data and census data. The findings: a suite of variables, including income, contribute to the distribution of UTC cover in a city.
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Remediating Neighborhood Blight May Reduce Stress and Improve Health

Philadelphia, PA (March 19, 2015) — Greening and adding trees to vacant lots may be associated with biologic reductions in stress, according to a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Residents who walked near newly greened vacant lots had significantly lower heart rates compared to walking near a blighted, or neglected, vacant lot.
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Green Space Impacts on Heat and Air Pollution in Urban Areas

Toronto, Ontario (March 24, 2015) — Urban green spaces provide significant health benefits by filtering harmful pollutants from the air and providing cooling effects during extreme heat, according to a report released by the David Suzuki Foundation. The report documents the impact natural urban spaces–from parkettes to green roofs and large natural spaces–can have on human health and well-being.
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Environmental Health Disparities and Green Spaces: An Ecosystem Services Perspective

By Viniece Jennings and Cassandra Johnson Gaither

Asheville, NC (March 19, 2015) — The many public health benefits of trees and green spaces have been well documented. But not all populations have equal access to forests, parks, gardens, and other green spaces. A review article by U.S. Forest Service researchers evaluates the influence of green spaces on public health and the link between green spaces and health disparities.
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The Future of Large Old Trees in Urban Landscapes

By Darren S. Le Roux, Karen Ikin, David B. Lindenmayer, Adrian D. Manning, Philip Gibbons

Canberra, AU (March 15, 2015) — As large trees mature, they provide a growing list of benefits, including providing shelter, roosting, and nesting to about 180 different animal species. Unfortunately, rapid urbanization poses an enormous threat to the existence of these trees. Recent research uses a simulation model to determine the future of older trees in urban landscapes and offers clear recommendations to preserve them.
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More Benefits of Green vs. Gray Stormwater Infrastructure

Philadelphia, PA (March 1, 2015) — The benefits of replacing outdated and overwhelmed urban sanitary and storm sewer systems with green stormwater infrastructure may extend far beyond water quality. New research by U.S. Forest Service scientists and partners found reduced crime occurring within a half-mile of Philadelphia’s new green stormwater infrastructure projects.
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U.S. Forest Service Updates National Assessment

Asheville, NC (February 24, 2015) — A new U.S. Forest Service report provides updated national estimates of forest area, growth, mortality rate, and other information, including some data on urban forests, which represent three percent of the conterminous U.S.
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Species Selection For A Diverse and Healthy Urban Forest

By Tenley M. Conway and Jennifer Vander Vecht

Toronto, ON (June 2015) — With the adoption of ambitious goals to grow and diversify the urban forest, municipal and non-municipal planting efforts have increased in many North American cities. A new survey and interview with urban forestry and other practitioners involved in tree planting sheds light on the need for conversations about ways these different professionals can select species to contribute to a diverse and healthy urban forest.
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