The Reason to Expand Urban Forests: Our Health – an ASLA Dirt blog post by Jared Green
Article Review by Jordan Wilkinson, PLA
This article by Jared Green, of ASLA’s The Dirt blog, shares some of the benefits of having and maintaining trees in our urban environments. Beyond the obvious benefits of trees (such as shade, wildlife habitat, heat-island effect, etc.) he lists some recent studies that show how urban trees can provide health benefits to those living in urban environments. Take a few minutes to read his article and consider some of the studies cited.
I found one study in particular very interesting. The study taking place in Louisville, KY conducted by Green for Good, shows results from a vegetative buffer planted between an elementary school and a busy highway reports that “under certain conditions, level of particulate matter were 60 percent lower behind the buffer than in the open side of the front yard. Among the health study participants, immune system function increased and inflammation levels decreased after planting.”
The article concludes that based on research by the Nature Conservancy, it would cost approximately $8 per person in the United States to maintain and increase the number of urban trees in our country. That sounds like a bargain to me – especially as healthcare costs continue to rise, and health insurance becomes more and more convoluted. With facts like this, how can we afford not to invest in our urban trees?