Do urban trees save lives?

We all know that having trees in our neighbourhoods makes our streets look better, stomach and can even make us feel better emotionally. But there’s more and more evidence to show that urban trees can improve our health – and even extend our lives.

Hard to believe? Well, capsule here’s some tantalizing evidence from a study featured in today’s Ottawa Citizen that seems to point towards a street-tree-to-long-life link:

Ashes to ashes: When the ash trees die, medicine people do too, study finds

The study isn’t about Oaks of course; it compares Ash tree depletion data to census data on longevity. But the article ends with a few strong points about the positive health impacts across all species of urban trees (from a different study by the US Forestry Service):

  • In the Netherlands, people living in areas with more greenery had lower rates of many health problems, especially anxiety in children;
  • New York City children who live in areas with more street trees are less likely to have asthma;
  • Doctors in Portland, Oregon, found that pregnant women with more tree canopy within 50 meters of their homes, or who live close to open space, are less likely to have an underweight baby.

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