We Need to Plant 20% More Trees in Urban Areas. Here’s Why.


We need 20 percent more trees in cities. Fire up your saplings, people!

Planting 20 percent more trees in our cities would double the benefits that we already get from our urban forests. These benefits include pollution reduction, carbon control and energy reduction.

This is according to a study by Parthenope University of Naples in Italy. The study recommends that city planners, residents and other stakeholders should conserve the nature in our urban areas, and plant more trees.

Nearly 10 percent of the world’s population live in megacities – cities of at least 10 million people. While those people often rely on nature outside of the city for their food and recreation, nature within the city in the form of urban forests can provide enormous benefits.

Many famous examples of urban forests in the megacities were studied, from Central Park in New York City to St. James’ Park in London and Bosque de Chapultepec in Mexico City. On average, about 20 percent of the area of each of the world’s megacities is urban forest today. But the new study reveals that a further 20 percent could be transformed into forest – something that would change residents’ lives for the better.

“By cultivating the trees within the city, residents and visitors get direct benefits,” explained lead author Dr Theodore Endreny. “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.”

The researchers were surprised to find that each city has the potential to host a further 20 percent coverage of forest canopy. The less cities rely on nature outside the metropolitan area and the more they focus land within the cities, the healthier and more sustainable those cities will be.

“Everyone can take action to increase the urban forest areas in our cities, not just city planners,” added Dr. Endreny.

Our biggest cities in Ireland are Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, and Waterford. So how about we get planting? And it might occur to us to plant evergreens. With no leaves to clear up in Autumn and year-round green vistas, what’s not to like?

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