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 Forest ResearchAir

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.

Products

McPherson,E.G . 2008. Trees and the clean air act: Strategic tree planting in Sacramento. Western Arborist :34(4) - View Document [1.77 MB]

Center for Urban Forest Research. June 2007. Trees and the Clean Air Act: Strategic tree planting in Sacramento. Center for Urban Forest Research, Davis, California - View Document [1.84 MB]

Calvan, B.C. 18 May 2007. EPA is urged to turn over a new leaf. Sacramento Bee - View Document [28.33 KB]

D.E. Pataki, R.J. Alig, A.S. Fung, N.E. Golubiewski, A. Kennedy, E.G. McPherson, D.J. Nowak, R.V. Pouyat, and P. Romero Lankao. 2006. Urban Ecosystems and the North American Carbon Cycle. Global Change Biology - View Document [181.37 KB]

Geiger, J.R.and S.L. Gardner. 2006. Sacramento Urban Forest For Clean Air Project. Center for Urban Forest Research, Pacific Southwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service - View Document [174.83 KB]

Vargas, Kelaine. April 2006. Effects of Tree Cover on Microclimate. ISA Southern Chapter Annual Conference - View Document [5.66 MB]

Geiger, J.R. 2006. Trees - The Air Pollution Solution. - View Document [1.17 MB]

Geiger, J.R. January, 2005. Air Pollution Control - The Tree Factor. Davis, CA: Center for Urban Forest Research, Pacific Southwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service; 8p. Research update - View Document [712.36 KB]

Geiger, J.R. 2005. Trees, Air Quality, Energy, and Transportation: How it all integrates into sustainable planning. Davis, CA: Center for Urban Forest Research, Pacific Southwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service - View Document [2.22 MB]

Geiger, J.R. October 2005. Air Pollution Control - The Tree Factor. - View Document [6.08 MB]

McPherson, E.G. 2004. Parking lots and ordinance compliance. Western Arborist 30(4) :30-32 - View Document [190.61 KB]

Lau, Edie. 2004. Olympic torch's ripple effect. Sacramento Bee - View Document [19.1 KB]

McPherson, E.G. 2003. Community Forest Planning: Lessons Learned. Davis, CA: Center for Urban Forest Research, Pacific Southwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service - View Document [1.9 MB]

City of Sacramento Planning Department. 2002. City of Sacramento parking lot tree shading design and maintenance guidelines. Sacramento, CA: City of Sacramento Planning Department - View Website

Geiger, J.R. 2002. Where are all the cool parking lots?. Davis, CA: Center for Urban Forest Research, Pacific Southwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service; 4p. Research summary - View Document [241.8 KB]

Simpson, J.R. and E.G. McPherson. 2001. Tree planting to optimize energy and CO2 benefits. In: Kollin, C. (ed). Investing in natural capital: proceedings of the 2001 national urban forest conference; 2001 September 5-8; Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C.: American Forests :81-84 - View Document [293.1 KB]

McPherson, E.G., J.R. Simpson and K.I. Scott. 2001. Actualizing microclimate and air quality benefits with parking lot tree shade ordinances. Wetter und Leben. 4(98) :353-369 - View Document [133.13 KB]

McPherson, E.G. 2001. Sacramento's parking lot shading ordinance: environmental and economic costs of compliance. Landscape and Urban Planning. 57 :105-123 - View Document [1.65 MB]

Jo, H.-K. and E.G. McPherson. 2001. Indirect carbon reduction by residential vegetation and planting strategies in Chicago, USA. Journal of Environmental Management. 61 :165-177 - View Document [142.86 KB]

McPherson, E.G., J.R. Simpson and K.I. Scott. 2001. Actualizing microclimate and air quality benefits with parking lot tree shade ordinances. Wetter und Leben. 4(98) :353-369 - View Document [133.13 KB]

Simpson, J.R. and E.G. McPherson. 2000. Effects of urban trees on regional energy use and avoided carbon. In: Preprints, 3rd urban environment symposium; 2000 August 14-18; Davis, CA. Washington, DC: American Meteorological Society :143-144 - View Document [265.54 KB]

McPherson, E.G. and J.R. Simpson. 2000. Carbon dioxide reductions through urban forestry: guidelines for professional and volunteer tree planters. PSW GTR-171. Albany, CA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station - View Document [2.55 MB]

Simpson, J.R. and E.G. McPherson. 2000. Energy and air quality improvements through urban tree planting. In: Kollin, C., (ed). Building cities of green: proceedings of the 1999 national urban forest conference; Seattle. Washington, D.C.: American Forests :110-112 - View Document [362.09 KB]

McPherson, E.G. and J.R. Simpson. 2000. Reducing air pollution through urban forestry. In: Adams, D., (ed). Proceedings of the 48th annual meeting of the California Forest Pest Council; 1999 November 18-19; Sacramento. Sacramento: California Forest Pest Council :18-21 - View Document [23.12 KB]

Simpson, J. and E.G. McPherson. 1999. Guidelines for evaluating atmospheric carbon dioxide reductions by urban forestry programs. In: Kinsman, J., C. Mathai, M. Baer, E. Holt and M. Trexler, (eds). Global climate change: science, policy, and mitigation/adaptation strategies. VIP-89. Vol II. Sewickley, PA: Air and Waste Management Association :789-790 - View Document [204.89 KB]

Scott, K.I., J.R. Simpson, E.G. McPherson. 1999. Effects of tree cover on parking lot microclimate and vehicle emissions. Journal of Arboriculture. 25(3) :129-142 - View Document [1.1 MB]

McPherson, E.G. 1999. Parking lot shade tree inspection and monitoring guide. Davis, CA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Center for Urban Forest Research

Simpson, J.R. and E.G. McPherson. 1998. Simulation of tree shade impacts on residential energy use for space conditioning in Sacramento. Atmospheric Environment: Urban Atmospheres. 32(1) :69-74 - View Document [616.57 KB]

McPherson, E.G., J.R. Simpson and K.I. Scott. 1998. Estimating cost effectiveness of residential yard trees for improving air quality in Sacramento, California, using existing models. Atmospheric Environment: Urban Atmospheres. 32(1) :75-84 - View Document [986.94 KB]

Simpson, J. and E.G. McPherson. 1998. A tool for evaluating atmospheric carbon reduction by urban forestry programs. In: Kollin, C. (ed). Cities by nature's design: Proceedings of the 8th national urban forest conference; 1999; Atlanta. Washington, D.C.: American Forests :58-61 - View Document [394.5 KB]

McPherson, E.G. and J.R. Simpson. 1998. Guidelines for tree planting to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide in Chula Vista, CA. Davis, CA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Center for Urban Forest Research - View Document [1002.18 KB]

McPherson, E.G. 1998. The impact of shade trees on reducing heat island effect in parking lots. Arid Zone Times. February :1-2 - View Document [275.51 KB]

Scott, K.I., J.R. Simpson and E.G. McPherson. 1998. Green parking lots: can trees improve air quality?. California Urban Forests Council Newsletter: CUF Link. Spring :1-2 - View Document [304.43 KB]

McPherson, E.G., J.R. Simpson and K.I. Scott. 1996. BACT analysis: are there cost effective air quality benefits from trees?. In: Proceedings of the 9th joint conference on the applications of air pollution meteorology with the Air and Waste Management Association. Boston: American Meteorological Society :355-359 - View Document [433.62 KB]

Wong, T.W. 1996. Parking lot shade study: a critical examination of Davis parking lot tree shade. Senior thesis project. Davis, CA. University of California and USDA Forest Service, Western Center for Urban Forest Research :75 - View Document [8.36 MB]

Jo, H.-K. and E.G. McPherson. 1995. Carbon storage and flux in urban residential greenspace. Journal of Environmental Management. 45 :109-133 - View Document [1.63 MB]

Levitt, D.G.. J.R. Simpson, C.S. Grimmond, E.G. McPherson and R. Rowntree. 1994. Neighborhood-scale temperature variation related to canopy cover differences in Southern California. 11th Conference on Biometeorology and Aerobiology. 7-10 March, 1994, San Diego, California, American Meteorological Society - View Document [405.61 KB]

Last Modified: Aug 29, 2016 11:06:02 AM