Can Planting More Trees Help Reduce Air Pollution?

Trees are a powerful weapon in the fight against air pollution. Learn how planting certain species of trees can help reduce air pollution.

Can Planting More Trees Help Reduce Air Pollution?

Trees are a powerful weapon in the battle against air pollution. In Los Angeles, they remove almost 2,000 tons of air pollution each year, while in Chicago, they take away more than 18,000 tons of air pollution annually. Earlier this year, an expert guide was published to assist urban planners in selecting tree species that can help reduce air pollution. The guide listed 61 species with 12 characteristics suitable for reducing air pollution, such as rough leaves.

It also took into account “unwanted variables, such as pollen, volatile organic compounds and species that require a lot of maintenance”. To assess the environmental and economic benefits of the three abundant urban trees, the National Tree Benefit Calculator (NTBC); Casey Tree and Davey Tree Expert Co. The NTBC is a free tool for public use that estimates the economic benefits of trees due to environmental improvements. It suggests that the location of the tree plantation has a minimal impact on overall economic value.

Mature trees have greater benefits and value than smaller trees when considering energy consumption. On the other hand, tree species that emit mainly monoterpenes, such as beech, magnolia and walking trees, yield less. This also applies to the ability of trees to avoid the formation of secondary pollution, since the crowns of larger trees cause lower air temperatures due to increased shade. This assessment provides urban planners, foresters and developers in desert regions with the information needed to make informed decisions about the economic and environmental advantages of urban tree planting.

Vegetation helps cities become better habitats for wildlife and people, and helps to make the air in cities safer. Planting tall trees with large canopies can make things worse in this situation by preventing pollution from spreading. Plants are often considered to be the “lungs” of an ecosystem because they absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. The tool estimates that a property with more trees (and more LSA) tends to have a higher value than one with fewer trees (and a lower LSA).

Mature trees have much greater benefits than young trees, since the size of the mature tree provides more surface area for rain storage and a large root system for absorption. Therefore, it is essential for future urban planning to consider the decision to plant certain species of trees, including urban greening, and to take into account both beneficial and harmful aspects of tree species in order to ensure that citizens benefit from climate adaptation strategies and are not adversely affected by them. Mature tree species (which are more efficient at reducing air pollution) have a greater capacity to intercept stormwater runoff and can reduce energy consumption compared to young trees.