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Tree Coverage Loss in U.S. Metro Areas
Green Spaces Are Shrinking in Concrete Jungles


A new concern is being raised regarding the lack of green spaces in metropolitan areas. Cities are losing their tree coverage and there may be consequences to it.

Tree and green space loss is happening at alarming rates in American cities, according to the Scientific American.

A study published in the Urban Forestry & Urban Greening reports that tree coverage is on a steady decline in most metropolitan areas. Since the beginning of the study, 36 million trees have been lost, which is equivalent to 175,000 acres of tree cover.

David Nowak and Eric Greenfield of the U.S Forest Service found there has been a decline in over 45 states. The biggest losses were in Rhode Island, Georgia, Alabama, Nebraska and Washington D.C. Only three states had small gains, Mississippi, Montana and New Mexico, but the amounts were considered "non significant."

The loss is being attributed to development for the accommodation of larger urban populations, damage from insects, such as the emerald ash borer, and natural aging.

Novak also expressed concern for the possible decrease of health in city residents if trees are continually lost. Studies have shown that green spaces in metropolitan areas have positive affects on health and help to reduce pollution.

Planting trees has been a suggestion to solving this issue, however there hasn't been notable success with programs attempting to fulfill and plant trees. Some of them have fizzled out before making it to their goal, despite the millions of vacant tree sites in urban cities.

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February 26, 2020, 9:15 pm PDT

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