Throw Shade at Climate Change By Planting More Trees

first_img Study: Planting More Trees Key to Combating Climate ChangeScientists Discover (And Climb) World’s Tallest Tropical Tree Stay on target Trees make the world go round: They provide oxygen, shelter, food, fuel, and wood. They conserve energy and prevent water pollution. They mark the seasons and increase property values.And, according to a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, they play a big role in keeping towns and cities cool.“Keeping temperatures more comfortable on hot summer days can make a big difference for those of us who live and work there,” study co-author Monica Turner, a University professor in the department of Integrative Biology, said in a statement.The right amount of leafy cover can lower summer daytime temperatures by as much as 10℉—a real blessing when you’re melting onto the sidewalk.For her research, Carly Ziter biked around Madison with a small weather station strapped to the back of her bike (via Carly Ziter/University of Wisconsin-Madison)As climate change presents new challenges for city planners and heat waves drive up energy demands and threaten human health, trees may turn out to be the hero we need.While roads, sidewalks, and buildings absorb heat during the day and release it at night, a decent amount of shrubbery can shade those surfaces from the sun’s rays. Trees also release water into the air through their leaves, helping to cool the atmosphere.“Tree canopy cover can actually do more than offset the effects of impervious surfaces,” Carly Ziter, lead author of the paper, said. During the day, “an equivalent amount of canopy cover can cool the air down more than pavement will warm it up.”For maximum effect, the green canvas must exceed 40 percent—which means a single city block would need to be nearly half covered by a network of branches and leaves.Ziter biked 10 different transects of the city multiple times during different times of day (via Carly Ziter/University of Wisconsin-Madison)“It’s not really enough to just kind of go out and plant trees, we really need to think about how many we’re planting and where we’re planting them,” Ziter said. “We’re not saying planting one tree does nothing, but you’re going to have a bigger effect if you plant a tree and your neighbor plants a tree and their neighbor plants a tree.”Ideally, these sort-of forests would crop up in residential locations where people are active—not just in parks.“The trees we plant now or the areas we pave now are going to be determining the temperatures of our cities in the next century,” Ziter warned.The full study was published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.More on Geek.com:Tree-Planting Drones Boost Global EcosystemsBios Incube Grows Trees From Human CremainsGenetically Engineered Trees Can Avoid Spreading Too Farlast_img

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