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.

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.

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.

What’s the Best Technology to Fight Climate Change? Trees May Be the Answer

Oxford, UK (February 3, 2015) — Oxford University scientists have advised that one of the best “technologies” to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and try to reverse global warming is trees. The report features a range of methods to capture emissions and none were more promising–and cost effective–than planting trees or soil improvements.

Living Near Trees May Reduce Antidepressant Use

By Marks S. Taylor, Benedict W. Wheeler, Mathew P. White, Theodoros Economou, and Nicholas J. Osborne

London, UK (April 2015) – New research out of the UK reports on urban trees and antidepressant use. Growing evidence suggests an association between access to urban greenspace and mental health and wellbeing. This study finds that there is a decrease in prescriptions as density of street trees increases.

Report Pushes for More Study of Links Between Green Space and Health

Cambridge, MA (December 24, 2015) — Mounting evidence connects human health and urban green spaces, but uncertainty remains about the characteristics of those links and, more practically, how cities can be designed to take advantage of them. A report from Harvard's Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health summarizes existing research and calls for an acceleration of research on the issue. When it comes to urban design, the report points out, the clock is ticking.

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.