Current urban expansion is the greatest in history. By 2050, three billion additional people will live in cities. While urbanization is frequently linked to environmental problems, it also offers solutions for global sustainability if cities can move from net consumers to net generators of ecosystem services.
A recent state-by-state study finds that U.S. urban trees store carbon and provide billions in economic value. America's urban forests store an estimated 708 million tons of carbon, an environmental service with an estimated value of $50 billion, according to a recent Forest Service study. The annual net carbon uptake by these trees is estimated at 21 million tons and $1.5 billion in economic benefit.
The new research, published in Psychological Science, examined data from a national longitudinal survey of households in the United Kingdom conducted at the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School. The research found that people who live in urban areas with more green space tend to report greater well-being than city dwellers who don’t have parks, trees, or other green space nearby.
The Arbor Day Foundation announced 14 individuals and organizations are recipients of a 2013 Arbor Day Award in honor of their outstanding contribution to tree planting, conservation and stewardship. Among this year's recipients are NASF members the Florida Forest Service (recipient of the Forest Lands Leadership Award) and and Texas A&M Forest Service as part of a public private partnership known as The Lost Pines Forest Recovery Campaign (recipient of the Excellence in Partnership Award).
Everyone has a favorite tree – a source of fun, shade or solace when we just need a quiet place. Thanks to a recent report, “Vibrant Cities & Urban Forests: A National Call to Action,” we now know our trees also provide so much more. Trees can create jobs and help reduce chronic illnesses like asthma and obesity. Trees can increase home values and lower summer temperatures. Trees make our air cleaner and provide habitat for native animals. In short, trees are the key to a vibrant, healthy community.
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