Trees & Public Health
Tree City USA Bulletin #57—Sources for More Information
The list of practical and aesthetic values of trees just seems to grow and grow. An example of some of these benefits and services can be found in the Arbor Day Foundation’s “The Value of Trees to a Community”. A notably thorough list has been produced by the Colorado Tree Coalition. You can even quantify benefits of individual street trees on your own computer at the National Tree Benefit Calculator!
For more information specifically about trees in relation to public health, here are some helpful links:
The Work of Some Leading Researchers
- Landscape and Human Health Laboratory
- Green Cities: Good Health
- Active Living Research
- USDA Forest Service study of birth outcomes
- USDA Forest Service Center for Urban Forest Research
- Urban Health and Health Inequalities and the role of Urban Forestry in Britain
Air Polution & Health
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- Environmental Protection Agency
To Select Trees with Minimum Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
The Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute provides an online tool, SelecTree#, that allows you to screen for trees by a number of attributes. Although this site is designed for California, much of it is applicable elsewhere, including selecting for the attribute of low biogenic emissions.
A broader list that shows emission rates—by genus—has been developed by the USDA Forest Service. The list is part of a discussion of urban forests, environmental quality and human health.
The Sustainable Sites Initiative
The Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) is an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden to provide guidelines for design, construction and maintenance practices. Access the SITES guidelines and go to “Human Health and Well Being” in the Table of Contents.
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