a person walking down a forest path

January 9, 2023 /
Christina Hester

Health Benefits of Trees

A recent article released by Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) speaks on how planting street trees may be more beneficial than anyone could have expected.

While it’s no secret that trees provide a wide variety of community benefits (reduce urban heat islands, improve traffic safety, remove air pollution, raise property value, etc.) researchers at the Portland Forestry Science Lab of the US Forest Service have used statistical data to find a direct link between street trees and lower mortality rates.

The study, known as “The association between tree planting and mortality: A natural experiment and cost-benefit analysis”, gathered data from the nonprofit Friends of Trees, which planted nearly 50,000 trees over three decades.

Researchers were able to show that areas with street trees resulted in less non-accidental and cardiovascular related deaths. The article states that, “planting 11.7 trees in each tract (the mean annual number of trees planted in a tract) was associated with 15.6 fewer non-accidental deaths per year and 5 fewer deaths from cardiovascular disease per year.”

An interesting thing that the study found was that older, larger trees had more of a connection to reduced human mortality than saplings. This is a testament as to why it is not only important but ESSENTIAL that we work to protect our heritage and special trees – as well as our young saplings – so that we can ensure their future, and ours.

While the researchers of this study found no connection between tree plantings and accidental deaths, other studies have advocated for street trees being effective tools towards traffic calming.

Read the full article here to learn more about why the researchers focused on street trees, and how the non-profit, Friends of Trees, planted 50,000 trees in 30 years.