Posted by Scott Hackett on Tue, Jan 16, 2018 @ 4:31 AM
A newly published study, completed by researchers at Germany’s Technical University of Munich (TUM), concluded that urban trees can grow up to 25% faster than their rural counterparts. You’d think that’s a good thing, right?
Unfortunately, wrong. Per the study, the fast growth rate of urban trees is believed to be a direct result of climate change – specifically the heat island effect (HIE). HIE is an urban or metropolitan area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human activities and causes a range of problems, including: increased heating and cooling costs, limited outdoor recreation, poor quality of life, and heat-related mortality.
In urban heat islands, higher-than-normal temperatures boost photosynthesis which cause trees and other forms of vegetation to grow faster. Sounds great, but the very temperatures that are causing urban trees to grow fast are also causing their early demise.
While findings vary within different climate zones, the research concludes that urban trees must be treated with extra care and consideration in light of this accelerated aging process, ensuring they can last the distance and continue to provide the many benefits that they deliver.