Today’s Solutions: November 28, 2023

Cities are notoriously noisy places, which is why urban planners are increasingly turning to trees as a buffer for noise. To identify which trees do the best job at muffling noise, researchers from University College London (UCL) recently evaluated 13 species of tree such as beech or willow trees in a laboratory-based sound absorption test—with the samples being selected using a range of criteria, including bark thickness, tree age, and trunk diameter.

What they found was that conifers are most effective when it came to absorbing sound. Beyond the environmental benefits of absorbing carbon and providing shade, the researchers found conifers have a type of bark that is effective in natural “silencing” noise pollution from traffic and industry.

As more urban planners look to harness the full benefits of planting trees in the city, don’t be surprised if you start seeing conifers getting planted in your local area.

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