Updated: Jun 27
Urban forestry involves establishing, maintaining, and protecting tree populations in various urban settings. The tree population includes parks, street trees, agricultural plots, green walls, green roofs, trees in open spaces and along riverbanks. This practice provides benefits, including improved air quality, decreased stormwater runoff, and the provision of wildlife habitat.
My interest in urban forestry began during my childhood when I learned about the role of trees in purifying the air and promoting good health. This eventually led me to pursue a Master's degree in the field.
Street trees, for instance, can absorb pollutants such as aerosol, and particulate matter (often known as PM2.5 and PM10) and help reduce the risk of contracting diseases such as cancer, pulmonary, and heart diseases. Strategically placed trees can also reduce energy consumption by providing shade and intercepting rain to reduce flood events.
Green spaces enhance urban residents' health by reducing stress levels, blood pressure, stroke risk, and obesity while improving mood and well-being. Urban trees also possess antidepressant properties, as found in Dr. Melissa Marselle's study. Additionally, green spaces encourage community building, social interaction, and outdoor activities with family and community members.
Urban trees also add beauty to their surroundings by softening harsh building lines, obscuring undesirable views, and enhancing the character of their environment. They also improve a community's economy and property values, which can increase from 5 to 15% depending on species, maturity, and location.
In the way that trees experience the four seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, I take solace in navigating through life's changing seasons. It serves as a reminder that there are always opportunities for new beginnings and growth, akin to how trees blossom and flourish once again when the sun shines upon them.
Challenges faced by urban forestry include urbanisation, climate change, and resource scarcity. Urgent action is needed through awareness campaigns, tree planting, funding, cross-sector collaboration, and policy adoption. These actions would support SDGs 11, 13, and 15 for sustainable cities, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity and well-being improvements.
Now that you are aware of the relevance of urban forestry, let us enjoy our urban forests and protect them so that together, we can build a climate resilient community.
About the Author
Abena Boatemaa Asare-Ansah is a young enthusiastic woman from Ghana fascinated by the use of simple geometrical constructs like points, lines, and polygons to represent and quantify intricate landscape features on the surface of the Earth. As a naturally curious researcher, she is passionate about using geospatial technology to manage natural resources, including food security, and agriculture, urban forestry, and land use and land cover.