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.

Research Topics Urban Forestry

Urban forests help reduce air pollution in direct and indirect ways.


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.