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Trees are crucial to the future of our cities

University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2019-03-25,


Studies show that the right amount of tree cover can help reduce the temperature by 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Monica Turner, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor in the department of Integrative Biology and a co-author of the study, says that cities are generally warmer than the countryside. Climate change is forcing city planners to prepare to make cities more comfortable.

Roads absorb heat throughout the day and release heat during the night. On the other hand, trees help reduce the same effect through their canopy cover and shade, as well as transpiration.

Carly Ziter, the lead author of the paper, mentions that studies like these have tended to focus on what is known as the "urban heat island" effect. Those studies often use satellites to take ground surface temperature readings or measure air temperature within and outside the city. Studies have shown that developed, less vegetated cityscapes are much warmer than the rural lands around them.

The data shows that forty per cent canopy cover is the threshold required to trigger the large cooling effects that trees have to offer. The author adds that we should be more outspoken since the trees we plant now and their mortality will determine the temperatures of our cities in the future.

Tags: Ecosystem services, urban trees, benefits

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