Planting More Trees to Protect and Save Lives

A new study estimates that more than a third of premature deaths from excessive heat can be prevented by planting more trees in cities.

1 minute read

February 20, 2023, 7:00 AM PST

By clementkhlau


Jon Bilous / Shutterstock

Planting more trees can help save lives, according to a new study published in The Lancet medical journal. High ambient temperatures are associated with many adverse health effects, including premature mortality. The combination of global warming due to climate change and the expansion of the global built environment mean that the intensification of urban heat islands (UHIs) is expected, accompanied by adverse effects on public health. Urban green infrastructure, including parks and trees, can reduce local temperatures.

The researchers identified 6,700 premature deaths in 93 European cities that could be attributed to excessive heat. They then modeled the impact of increasing city tree cover to 30 percent. The results showed that this level of tree cover across those 93 cities would prevent 2,644 premature deaths—more than a third of the total.

This article includes a wonderful infographic which shows how temperatures rise in line with the density of urban development. Scientists at the Berkeley National Laboratory say a hot and sunny afternoon can increase the temperature in urban areas by 1-3°C, compared with the air in nearby rural areas.

For more information, please read the source article.

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