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.

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.

Portland’s Trees Provide $6.6M Annually in Reduced Air Pollution Benefits

Portland, OR (August 26, 2014) — A new Portland State University study that maps Portland’s air pollution patterns highlights the air-cleansing benefit of urban trees. According to the research, published in Environmental Pollution, Portland’s urban canopy keeps kids in school, thwarts asthma attacks, curbs emergency room visits and helps elderly residents stay out of the hospital.

University of Washington Research Shows Value of Community Engagement

By Wolf, K.L., S. Kreuger, and K. Flora.

Seattle, WA (2014) — A new University of Washington literature review finds that place attachment and meaning are particularly relevant when considering issues of urban development and community-building. Attachment and meaning emerge from a variety of experiences and situations, and are often related to parks, green spaces, and natural areas. This connection may serve to promote and encourage environmentally responsible behavior using appeals to individuals’ self-identity and dependence.

Trees and Forests Improve Air Quality and Human Health

By Nowak, David J.; Hirabayashi, Satoshi; Bodine, Allison; Greenfield, Eric

Syracuse, NY (July 25, 2014) — In the first broad-scale estimate of air pollution removal by trees nationwide, U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms.

Urban Heat Boosts Some Pest Populations 200-Fold

By Adam G. Dale and Steven D. Frank, North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC (July 23, 2014) — New research from North Carolina State University shows that urban “heat islands” are slowly killing red maples in the southeastern United States. One factor is that researchers have found warmer temperatures increase the number of young produced by the gloomy scale insect–a significant tree pest–by 300 percent, which in turn leads to 200 times more adult gloomy scales on urban trees.