Posted by Ben Gooden on Tue, Mar 13, 2018 @ 7:06 AM
A study in Ecological Modelling, conducted by Parthenope University of Naples in Italy, has found that planting just 20% more trees in our megacities would double the benefits of urban forests, including pollution reduction, carbon sequestration, and energy reduction. Authors of the study say city planners, residents, and other stakeholders should increasing the nature in our urban areas by planting more trees.
Nearly 10% of the world’s population live in megacities – that is, cities of at least 10 million people. For these people, urban forests are paramount to physical and mental wellbeing and economic prosperity. Examples of urban forests in megacities include Central Park in New York, St James’ Park in London, and Bosque de Chapultepec in Mexico City.
In the study, the team used a tool called i-Tree Canopy to estimate the current tree coverage in cities and the potential for more urban forest cover, and worked out the benefits that would bring. They estimated the current tree cover in ten megacities in five continents, looked at the benefits of urban forests – including removing pollution from the air, saving energy, and providing food – and approximated the current value of those benefits at over $500 million per year.
Theodore Endreny, Ph.D., PH, PE, lead author of the paper and now professor of the Department of Environmental Resources Engineering at the State University of New York ESF campus, said, “By cultivating the trees within the city, residents and visitors get direct benefits. They’re getting an immediate cleansing of the air that’s around them. They’re getting that direct cooling from the tree, and even food and other products. There’s potential to increase the coverage of urban forests in our megacities, and that would make them more sustainable, better places to live.”