Airdate: Oct 11, 2004
Scientist: Nina Bassuk
Urban Tree Planting: Beyond Aesthetics
Trees enhance the aesthetics of an urban environment and function as natural coolants and air purifiers.
ambience: Light traffic passing
When it comes to making life more livable in the city, chances are planting trees isn’t the first thought that crosses your mind. But maybe it should be. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Trees add beauty to any landscape and Nina Bassuk, director of the Urban Horticulture Institute at Cornell University, says they do more to improve the quality of urban life than meets the eye.
"Trees just make our city livable.All you have to do is say you’re taking down a tree and the uproar that comes because of that tells you that it really makes people feel good about their neighborhood. It gives them a sense of place. Of course, it has number of benefits, which we often don’t think of. shade is a major one, habitat for wildlife, traps particular pollutions, lessens the noise, it creates windbreaks and of course increases property values too."
And trees also have a positive impact on global warming, according to Andrew Hillman, a city forester in Ithaca, New York.
"Higher ambient temperatures create more pollution, and so trees shading parking lots, shading asphalt, keep the ambient temperatures down. There’s also, if we can put shade for instance on a an air conditioning unit, that air conditioner will work less and therefore we’re burning less amount of fossil fuel. It’s taking carbon dioxide and sequestering it from the atmosphere, but it’s also reducing the amount of carbon dioxide because of lower demand for electricity. The aesthetic reasons alone are good enough for me, but there’s so many environment reasons, air pollution reduction, cooling the cities, cooling the asphalt in particular, that are equally as important."
To hear about our new Pulse of the Planet CD, please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont bringing you the miracles of science for 200 years, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.