by DJ Nowak, S Hirabayashi, A Bodine, R Hoehn
Environmental Pollution 178:395-4022013
Studies have shown that urban trees can remove fine pollution particles (PM2.5) from the atmosphere, improve air quality and human health. The goal of this paper was to estimate the amount of PM2.5 removal by trees within 10 U.S. cities and its effect on PM2.5 concentrations, including the associated values and impact on human health. The total value of PM2.5 removed annually by urban trees varied by city, canopy size, growing season and precipitation; but ranged from $1.1 million to $60.1 million. The broad-scale effects of pollution removal by trees revealed that city trees can also produce considerable health benefits and air pollution reduction gains. These ranged from 1 person yr-1 per city to 7.6 people yr-1 per city; and 0.05 ˗ 0.24% respectively. Urban forest designs that consider the benefits of urban trees can thus help to minimize human exposure to PM2.5. Overall, the results can help in understanding the impact of urban trees on human health.