According to a new study, cities can be more beneficial to the environment than previously thought. Parks and trees spread throughout urban areas, which take up about 4% of the world’s land, soak up significant amounts of carbon dioxide.
With the world’s population is expected to rise to 9 billion by 2050, cities will continue to grow as the larger population creates a higher demand for urbanized land space.
Most calculations of “carbon sinks” do not include cities because the amount of forests, parks and heavily wooded areas is significantly smaller than in rural and wilderness areas, but new studies are showing the numbers may be larger than originally thought.
According to the British study in the city of Leicester, carbon dioxide absorption in parks, industrial land, gardens, golf courses, river banks and other natural areas within the city was approximately 10 times more than they expected.
Aside from providing beneficial carbon dioxide-absorbing properties, trees lower temperatures throughout cities that often rise due to excessive amounts of black asphalt and concrete. They can help prevent heat-related illnesses in city residents during hot summer weather and heat waves, like the one currently being experienced in the U.S.
While many wooded areas are bulldozed for the sake of building a new apartment complex or subdivision, it’s another indication that living in smaller, denser areas is an overall greener way of living. There is less need to cut down forestation, and more room for quiet, natural areas such as parks within the city. Perfect for some forest bathing after a long day at the office.
Image CC licensed by ZeroOne: Central Park, New York City