This article looks into trees in urban areas and asks; how much difference can one tree make?

When people think of trees and forests, they probably think of the Amazon rainforest, the Congo basin or tall giant redwoods reaching for the sky in California. This is a shame, because trees have an indispensable role to play in cities. They make our lives better and our surroundings more beautiful.

This week I was struck by a number of impressive instances of trees in urban areas. I will share them with you below.

Jeremy Barrell wrote:

For years, I have been looking for better images for my talks to illustrate trees buffering temperature extremes. Enspec in Australia came up with this, which is great. 39.8C in the purple foreground tree shade, 50.9C in the yellow road in the sun. It speaks for itself.”

tree in heat

You can find a link to the original Tweet here.

A picture is worth a thousand words and the image above demonstrates nicely the cooling benefits that trees bring to urban areas.

I was also pleased to find out about the progress of Trees for Cities as they are a charity that I really like. They wrote:

Would you believe this is the first tree we ever planted, 24 years ago! 💚 Since then we’ve planted 773,831 more urban trees and counting.”


urban trees


You can find the picture to the right and a link to the original Tweet can be found here.

In an age of 24/7 rolling news and smartphones where you can access thousands of services at the touch of a button, trees can be contrasted with their slow growth and longevity.

But urban trees provide many benefits and we need more of them.





This week I also enjoyed reading The Little Book Of Ecosystem Services In The City by Sadler et al. This may be a small book, but within it contains a powerful message. Cities depend on ecosystem services to make them more liveable, but green urban areas are under threat.

An area that I find particularly interesting is the linking of environmental indicators to human health outcomes. They identify three different types of evidence linking ecosystem services to human wellbeing.

  1. Epidemiological studies linking health benefits of exposure to cultural urban ecological services to an improved natural environment
  2. Epidemiological evidence linking green space to behavioural changes leading to increased levels of physical exercise.
  3. Improvements in psychological (mental) health engendered by exposure to natural places and scenes.

As we can see, trees and green spaces in urban areas, have quite significant links to improved health outcomes.

What you need to know

This article looked into trees in urban areas and asked; how much difference can one tree make?

We looked at evidence from Australia that showed the significant cooling benefits that trees in urban areas can bring.

We looked into Trees for Cities, who are an amazing charity that do so much to help beautify urban areas.

We looked at the health benefits that green spaces in urban areas can confer, which are substantial.

So overall, how much difference can one tree make? The answer is, a lot.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or reach out to me on social media. How much difference do you think trees make to urban areas?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby


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