Heat wave: Planting more trees reduces summer deaths in cities by a third

A research team from Barcelona, ​​​​​​Spain, found that a third (2,644) of the 6,700 premature deaths in European cities in 2015 could have been prevented if urban trees had grown by 30%.

Their study also found that the shade provided by the trees lowered summer temperatures in the cities by an average of 0.4 degrees.

“We already know that high temperatures in urban environments are associated with adverse health outcomes, such as cardiorespiratory failure, hospitalizations and premature death,” said Tamara Lungman, lead author of the study, from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health.

According to the expert, the purpose of the research is to “inform authorities about the benefits of strategically integrating green infrastructure into urban planning to promote more sustainable and resilient urban environments and contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation.”

To reach these conclusions, the researchers estimated the death rates of residents aged 20 and older in 93 European cities between June and August 2015, with a total of about 57 million deaths.

Read more: Heat wave hits Europe with extreme temperatures

After analyzing the data based on two different study models, they concluded that 6,700 early deaths were due to higher summer city temperatures, 4.3% of summer deaths and 1.8% of annual deaths.

A third of these deaths (2,644) could have been prevented by increasing the tree cover by up to 30% and thus lowering the temperature.

This equates to 39.5% of all deaths attributed to higher city temperatures, 1.8% of all summer deaths and 0.4% of annual deaths, according to the study.

While the authors acknowledge that the increase in trees needs to be combined with other interventions, such as lowering city temperatures, the study results support the idea that urban trees provide significant public health and environmental benefits.

“Our results show that higher temperatures in cities have major effects on mortality rates and that these effects can be partly mitigated by increasing forest cover to cool the urban environment,” says co-author Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, Director of Urban Planning, Environment and Health. Barcelona Institute for Global Health.

Source: EFE.

Source: Ultimahora

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