Urban Soils: Contamination and Urban Trees

Soil can be contaminated by masonry, wood, paper, asphalt, paint, fuel, cement, oil, salt, or other materials. Contamination may occur across an entire site, such as an industrial property, or in spots, such as concrete washouts and refueling areas. This damage can also occur in the backyards of homes when cat litter or engine oil is dumped, or where there has been excessive use of pesticides and herbicides.

Soil contamination often reduces aeration and water infiltration and sometimes may kill

How do trees and other vegetation affect urban mesoclimates and microclimates?

Vegetation affects urban mesoclimate and microclimate by intercepting solar radiation, directing air movement, and affecting air temperature.  Microclimate, mesoclimate and macroclimate can be used to describe the climate of a given location. Macroclimate covers hundreds of square miles and parameters such as precipitation levels, temperatures and winds. Mesoclimate covers areas of tens of square miles and describes how conditions vary from the prevailing macroclimate due to the effects of water bodies, topographic features (terrain), and other landscape influences. A microclimate …

What Can I Do to Promote Energy Conservation with Trees in My Community?

The best ways to promote energy conservation with trees in your community are educating others about the benefits of urban trees, advocating for tree planting and protection, and taking action to increase local tree canopy cover.

Although most people can appreciate the comforting shade of a tree on a hot summer’s day, many do not realize how large an impact that trees can have on energy consumption for both cooling and heating buildings. Therefore, most people under-estimate the energy conservation …

Urban Forests: The Benefits Outweigh the Costs


Trees are an important part of our communities, but tree planting, maintenance and protection require an investment of resources, including time and money. Are the benefits that trees afford our communities greater than their costs? The answer is yes. A study of future benefits and costs of a tree planting program in Chicago found that the projected value of trees, when measured by such things as increased property values and decreased energy use, is nearly three times greater than the …