Urban trees save at least one life per year in cities

city trees photo
CC BY-ND 3.0 saebaryo

We know trees are important for the environment maintaining life on this planet but it's not just the wide swaths of forests that make a difference. Literally, every tree counts, even those located in urban areas. A new study by the US Forest Service reveals that "urban trees and forests are saving an average of one life every year per city. In New York City, trees save an average of eight lives every year."

The U.S. Forest Service along with Davey Institute looked at trees in 10 major US cities -- including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Syracuse, NY -- and studied how effective they are at removing fine particulate pollution from the air. This pollution is responsible for "premature mortality, pulmonary inflammation, accelerated atherosclerosis, and altered cardiac functions." Turns out, trees help. A lot.

“More than 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas containing over 100 million acres of trees and forests,” said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station and Acting Director of the Forest Products Lab. “This research clearly illustrates that America’s urban forests are critical capital investments helping produce clear air and water; reduce energy costs; and, making cities more livable. Simply put, our urban forests improve people’s lives.”

This study comes after another recent study that makes a correlation between tree loss and human deaths. Stephen wrote, "After adjusting their findings for demographic variables, like income and education, the team discovered a startling association: fewer trees aligned with more human deaths."

So literally, if trees die, we die.

If that isn't encouragement to get out there and help out your local tree-planting non-profits, such as Friends of the Urban Forest in San Francisco, or local government groups like Urban Forest in Portland who need volunteers, then I don't know what is. You can literally help save lives by planting trees in your city. Pretty amazing thing to know!

Tags: Health

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