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A must read for those interested in trees and public health!

This rigorous review of studies from around the world finds no scientific consensus that urban trees reduce asthma by improving air quality. In some circumstances, urban trees
can degrade air quality and increase asthma. Causal pathways between urban trees, air quality, and asthma are very complex, and there are substantial differences in
how natural science and epidemiology approach this issue. The authors recommend that scholars and municipal decision-makers rely on multidisciplinary research as they consider the impact of green space on future health.

The relationship between trees and asthma doesn’t depend solely on particulate reduction. In fact, many studies show that trees actually can increase asthma rates through pollen allergies. Other researchers have noted that “tree canyons” bridging a street can impede the circulation of air and actually increase pollution levels.


Theodore S. Eisenmana, Galina Churkina, Sunit P. Jariwala, Prashant Kumard, Gina S. Lovasie, Diane E. Pataki, Kate R. Weinberger, Thomas H. Whitlow

Landscape and Urban Planning 187 (2019) 47–59

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Our review suggests that assessment of ecosystem functions alone is insufficient to generate meaningful public health and associated urban planning guidance; and that
epidemiological methods must be more thoroughly incorporated in
urban ecosystem service scholarship.

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