USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station
Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Urban Ecosystems and Social Dynamics

Urban Ecosystems and Processes


Emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants and other sources contribute to climate change. Motor vehicles are a primary source of other air pollutants that can threaten human health and environmental quality. Urban forests improve air quality by reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and absorbing air pollutants. Trees can directly sequester carbon dioxide as woody and foliar biomass while they grow. By shading buildings and streets, trees reduce energy used for heating and air conditioning, thereby lowering emissions from power plants. Properly planted and managed trees can also reduce the level of particulates, ozone and other pollutants in the atmosphere. Consult the references below for additional information on how trees influence air quality.

  1. Cool Parking Lots
  2. Why Shade Streets?
  3. Urban Tree Planting and Greenhouse Gas Reductions
  4. Trees and the Clean Air Act: Strategic Tree Planting in Sacramento
  5. Capturing Carbon in Your Community
  6. The Tree BVOC Index
  7. Effects of Residential Trees on Air Quality in Sacramento, CA
  8. Effects of Tree Cover on Parking Lot Microclimate and Evaporative Hydrocarbon Emissions from Parked Vehicles
  9. Guidelines for Energy Conservation and Carbon Dioxide Reductions through Urban Forestry
  10. Impacts of Shade Trees in Parking Lots in Davis, CA
  11. Miscellaneous Air Literature
  12. Neighborhood-scale temperature variation related to canopy cover differences in Southern California
  13. Olympic torch's ripple effect
  14. Sacramento Parking Lot Tree Shade Ordinance
Last Modified: Jun 3, 2013 11:02:53 AM