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It’s hard not to love trees. They provide us with shade during the scorching heat of summer, help clean the air and water, and improve our physical and mental well-being. Now, a recent study has found that boosting urban greenery — including trees, shrubs, and other plants — could also save tens of thousands of lives in cities across the country.

For a study published earlier this month in Frontiers in Public Health, researchers looked at 35 metropolitan areas within the U.S. They compared satellite data showing changes in how much greenery a city had with mortality data for people aged 65 and older from 2000 to 2019. Using these measures, they estimated that even small increases in greenery could have saved over 34,000 lives over the past two decades.

“One of the primary questions that urban planners ask is where should they implement greening, and can we quantify the impact of greening initiatives for them — because there is a cost for tree planting campaigns or shrubbery planting,” Kevin Lane, an assistant professor of environmental health at Boston University, told the School of Public Health’s news service.

Now, researchers can quantify ... Read more

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