X Mix Urban Amp; Club Series Vol 208 UPD
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X Mix Urban Amp; Club Series Vol 208 UPD
The ecological functions and services of urban forests have been investigated extensively in recent decades [7,8,9,10,11]. Benefits include the ability of trees to reduce greenhouse gases through carbon storage [12,13,14], decrease stormwater runoff through interception and absorption of rainwater , and mitigate the urban heat island effect through reductions in surface and air temperatures at a local scale [16,17]. However, knowledge about the relationship between urban trees and human health is still developing. The academic literature on the linkages between nature and human health has grown rapidly using various specifications of nature, such as urban greening, green space, open space, parks, therapeutic landscapes, and restorative settings. As the evidence base has expanded, reviews have consolidated knowledge of associated health outcomes, but many have focused broadly on nature [17,18,19,20,21,22], green space [23,24,25,26,27,28], and greenness [22,29].
More information about specific qualities of urban tree conditions and exposures are needed in order to help guide and inform planning, design, and implementation decisions. Local governments and other organizations show increased interest in promoting and enhancing community-based nature as a social determinant of health [30,31]. From a practical standpoint, effective implementation requires better articulation of specific elements of nature and how they may influence health outcomes. Policy, professional staffing, and budgets are often allocated less to generalities of nature and more specifically to departmental administrations addressing parks, trees, vegetation in rights-of-way, natural areas or landscapes associated with development.
Summary of studies in urban trees and human health scoping review, sorted by health outcomes domains and study design. (narrative provides details of thematic analysis; citations and references are in Supplementary Material, Table S1).
Several time series studies found that pollen allergy prevalence is rising over time (e.g., [57,64]). Furthermore, while the pollen season typically occurs two to three months a year, climate change may lead to higher pollen concentrations and a longer pollen season (e.g., ). However, not all tree pollen has the same allergy-inducing potential; across various geographies some tree species were found to induce greater levels of pollen sensitization than others (e.g., [63,69,70,71,72,73,74,75,76]). For instance, olive and silver birch trees in Spain, and alder and Japanese cedar in China were found to have high allergenicity properties. Nonetheless, tree pollen has been found to cause fewer symptoms for some allergy sufferers than other types of aeroallergens such as indoor house dust mites, and other types of plant pollen such as grass and weed pollen (e.g., [71,77,78,79,80]). Allergy symptoms can also be exacerbated by co-sensitivity to tree pollen and other types of allergens (such as grass pollen; e.g., [81,82]).
As a high-level synthesis of the extent and diversity of this body of literature, Figure 2 presents an illustrative summary of the multiple relationships between urban trees and health, as well as the growth in range and volume of urban tree and health research over the past few decades (Supplementary Material Table S1: Citations and References for Table 2). The flows passing through each column illustrates the connections between tree settings (first column: Tree Setting), the biopsychosocial pathways identified by Markevych et al. (second column: Domain) , the subdomains that we interpreted based on the study results (third column: Research Theme), and the publication period by decade (fourth column: Year).
More consistent research design and methods across studies, and replication, would be beneficial to enable cross-comparisons, including meta-analyses to generate more robust and conclusive evidence about phenomena and causalit