U.S. cities lose 36 million trees a year

If you're looking for a reason to worry about losing your trees, there may be a record heat wave this summer. According to a recent study, trees can reduce summer daytime temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit.


But tree cover in U.S. cities is declining. A study published last year by the U.S. Forest Service found that over a five-year period, we lost 36 million trees annually in urban and rural communities. That's down 1 percent from 2009 to 2014.


If we continue down this path, "cities will become warmer, more polluted and generally more unhealthy for residents," said David Novak, a senior scientist with the U.S. Forest Service and co-author of the study.


Novak says there are many reasons our tree canopy is shrinking, including hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, insects and disease. But the only reason people can control the loss of trees is through prudent development.


According to Novak, more than 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in urban areas, and most Americans live in forested areas along the east and west coasts.

"Every time we put a road in, build a building and cut down a tree or add a tree, it affects not only that area, but the region."

The study estimated the loss of trees based on the role of trees in removing air pollution and saving energy.


The lost value was $96 million a year.


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