Nature helps: Trees in the city grow faster than trees in rural areas

This was an article we featured back in 2017 but thought it would be interesting to rerun it now, in light of recent reports on how much of a difference that urban greenery has on human AND planetary health.  Back then, it was reported that researchers had discovered that trees in metropolitan areas are growing faster than trees in rural areas.

The growth acceleration of urban trees is being attributed to the so-called heat island effect, which leads to a stronger heating-up and thus higher temperatures in urban centers. Higher temperatures can increase the growth of trees in two ways: they stimulate photosynthetic activity and prolong the vegetation period, extending the time of the year during which trees can grow.

While this is an interesting finding, it seems that the faster growth in urban areas can also lead to earlier tree death.  Later studies found that as the street trees grow, they encounter size-related risks such as limited root space, excessive pruning, and removal due to risk hazard and development. Simply adding long-term planning into city greening initiatives will add years to the trees’ life and extend the benefits to both city dwellers and the rest of our biosphere.

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