Trees and Air Quality
A tree can be a net positive, regardless of the neighborhood in which it’s planted. Every city tree helps clean the air and water. Each is home to any number of bugs, creatures and critters, not to mention a source of physical and mental health benefits for people.
When it’s placed in a location that needs those benefits most, a tree an be a workhorse. Placing lots of trees in neighborhoods of greatest need is a cornerstone of our commitment to 500 million trees by 2027. That final tree count creates impact at scale, but the focus around where those trees will be planted is the real story.
To do that right requires insights, science, data, information and technology to pull it all together. Ultimately, the Arbor Day Foundation turned to NatureQuant to make it happen.
What is NatureQuant?
NatureQuant is a technology and research company with products that help highlight the positive impact nature, greenspaces and trees have on a neighborhood’s health and well-being.
Not only can NatureQuant’s data highlight the impact trees have on a neighborhood in a variety of health outcomes, it can also help determine which neighborhoods need more trees in the first place.
Since forming in 2019, NatureQuant has received acclaim for its algorithm that pulls public data, satellite imagery, and image-recognition software to map where nature was plentiful and where it was needed across the country. It then provides a rating, or “NatureScore,” on a 0-100 scale, depending on how deprived an area is of nature.
Before NatureQuant, it was difficult to “see” a tree’s benefits on a block-by-block radius in a visual, easy-to-understand way.
What makes this partnership so powerful?
Information and technology from NatureQuant helps the Arbor Day Foundation determine which neighborhoods around the country need trees the most. It does this by identifying communities that are both nature deprived and have other socioeconomic disadvantages, like low income, education, employment, or housing shortages.
Combining our unmatched local network of tree planting and community organizations across the country with NatureQuant’s robust research and technology has created a new standard for community tree planting—ensuring more trees are planted where they are needed most.
The Arbor Day Foundation will work with its partners to use NatureScore data to develop high-impact projects designed to boost health outcomes and promote environmental equity among the most disadvantaged communities around the world.
Why is the Arbor Day Foundation Targeting Tree Plantings in Low-Canopy Neighborhoods?
Research abounds that shows people who live near trees and green space benefit in so many ways, both mentally and physically.
Trees can cool cities by up to 10 degrees to help extreme heat, which kills more Americans than all other natural disasters combined each year and disproportionately affects underserved communities. Neighborhoods with higher tree canopy coverage have been shown to have lower childhood asthma rates, too. Studies also show people are happier the more connected to nature they become and have a higher feeling of well-being when living in urban areas with more green space.
To learn more about the Arbor Day Foundation’s commitment to plant 500 million trees with a focus in neighborhoods and neighborhoods of greatest need, visit arborday.org/atreecanbe.