Urban Trees: The Key to Liveable and Sustainable Future Cities

Sourced from the Verdict

As we head towards a future where global populations are set to become increasingly urbanised, it is important to protect and plant urban trees in order to be able to build liveable and sustainable future cities.

Urban trees provide many ecosystem services essential for making cities liveable. This includes providing shade, flood mitigation, filtering air pollution, habitat for birds, mammals and other plants, as well as wider recreational and aesthetic benefits.

Without trees life could not exist on Earth as they produce the most of the oxygen that human and wildlife breathe. They absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to release oxygen via photosynthesis. Without trees there would be no rain, as they absorb the water from the soil and release it through evapotranspiration.

The case for urban forests
A new study by UCL, published in Carbon Balance and Management, is designed to help to better understand the value of urban trees and influence future urban planning.

Sir Harry Studholme, Chair of the Forestry Commission said: “The trees in our cities are important. They matter because they are close to people and are a key component of our urban environment providing beauty, shade and homes for myriad species as well as absorbing carbon and pollutants. The work being carried out at UCL is adding colour and detail to this understanding.”

The research highlights how different urban trees can be from their wild cousins, and even from each other across different urban settings.

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