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A study has found that planting more trees in cities will lower temperatures and could help reduce deaths linked to heat waves and hot weather due to trees' cooling effect in built-up areas. They provide shade and moisture as well as deflect the sun’s rays.
The researchers who conducted this study looked at the impact on 93 European countries and the team found that by increasing the tree cover by 30%, temperatures would decrease by 0.4 degrees Celsius. One third of deaths caused by high temperatures in 2015 could have been prevented with more trees.
According to Happy Eco News, the countries in Europe that would benefit the most from added tree coverage are South and East Europe where the summer temperatures are the highest and tree coverage is usually lower.
Some countries have already begun planting more trees. For example, Spain’s capital Madrid is building a 75 kilometer big urban forest with a million new trees. Also Paris, France have plans to plant 170 000 new trees by 2026 and London pledges that half of the city will be green by 2050 together with an increased canopy cover by a tenth.
Not only can green spaces in cities prevent deaths caused by heat, planting trees in urban areas have many other health benefits like for example help reduce cardiovascular diseases, dementia and poor mental health. Other than helping people with their mental health, having trees in urban areas can help improve cognitive functioning of children and the elderly.
Hopefully, our cities will be full of trees and green spaces so we can make a brighter and more sustainable future come sooner.