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Northern Research Station
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 557-4017
(610) 557-4132 TTY/TDD

Urban Forests, Environmental Quality and Human Health

Our Research Mission

[photo:] Mature conifers in front of ten story office buildingOur research mission is to understand how urban forests and their management affect environmental quality, and to develop tools and management guidelines to enhance urban natural resources stewardship such that environmental quality and human health are sustained in urban and urbanizing regions. Our research focuses on local to national urban forest assessments, research and monitoring of urban forests and their environmental effects, and development of integrated urban forest landscape tools.

Our Research Focus:

  • Urban forest health and forest structure - What are the structure, composition, and health of the urban forest resource across the United States, how is it changing, and what are the environmental effects of these changes?
  • Air quality and climate - What effect does urban vegetation have on local and regional air quality, atmospheric carbon dioxide, local water quality and flooding, air temperature and wind speeds, ultraviolet radiation loads, and building energy use? What species composition and design will maximize air and water quality improvement, increase human comfort, provide maximum protection from ultraviolet radiation, and/or reduce building energy and consequent emissions from power plants?
  • Water Quality and Quantity - What effects do urban trees have on local water quality and flooding; what urban forest configurations are best to improve water quality and reduce flooding?
  • Urban soils and nutrient cycling - How does urbanization affect soil characteristics and tree health, and nutrient cycling in and around urban areas?
  • Tools to Assess Ecosystem Services - In addition to quantifying urban forest effects, various computer tools and applications are being developed to aid local users in analyzing the benefits of their urban forest and developing appropriate management plans.

Last Modified: 04/08/2009