City park from above.

To Reduce Mortality From High Heat in Cities, a New Study Recommends Trees

The paper’s senior author says it stands at the “nexus of the climate crisis, urban forestry, health and urban planning.”

March 1, 2023 | Source: Inside Climate News | by Danish Bajwa

Nearly 40 percent of the thousands of deaths that can be attributed to high heat levels in cities could have been avoided through increased tree coverage, a recent study from Barcelona’s Institute of Global Health found.

Past studies have linked urban heat with increased mortality rate and hospital admissions for adults and children. This link between high temperature and mortality holds both in times of extreme and moderate heat. In addition to conducting a similar analysis between urban heat and mortality, the Institute of Global Health’s study went on to estimate possible reductions in temperature and mortality that may result from increased tree coverage.

To establish the reduction in heat-induced urban mortality from increased tree coverage, researchers first compared mortality rates in warmer urban areas with mortality rates in cooler non-urban areas. This allowed them to estimate the relationship between increased temperature and mortality in urban areas.