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Trees reduce air pollution, respiratory problems

Trees are nature’s answer to diminishing air pollution, as well as reducing respiratory problems for the human population, according to US Forest Service scientists and collaborators behind a new study.

Their broad-scale estimates concluded that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidents of acute respiratory symptoms – and that’s just by improving air quality by less than 1%. Not to mention that trees can help save $7 billion a year in health costs by reducing respiratory illness.

The study was led by Dave Nowak and Eric Greenfield of the US Forest Service’s Northern Research Station (NRS) and Satoshi Hirabayashi and Allison Bodine of the Davey Institute. It is the first to directly link air pollution to improved health effects.

“In terms of impacts on human health, trees in urban areas are substantially more important than rural trees due to their proximity to people,” Nowak said. “We found that in general, the greater the tree cover, the greater the pollution removal, and the greater the removal and population density, the greater the value of human health benefits.”

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Image credit: keller / Fotolia


Posted Date: August 7, 2014

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