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.

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.

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.

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Philadelphia, PA (March 1, 2015) — The benefits of replacing outdated and overwhelmed urban sanitary and storm sewer systems with green stormwater infrastructure may extend far beyond water quality.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.

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.