Project Title: An Assessment of Urban Trees - Ecosystem Services and Resilience to Climate Change
Summary: Cities are a major driver of climate change, responsible for around 75% of global carbon dioxide emissions, and are projected to extend rapidly as the human population living in cities increases from 55% to 75% by 2050. Urban trees are therefore an increasingly important component of the world’s ecosystem, providing ecosystem services to human society and the environment; potentially moderating the effects of urbanization on biodiversity and climate. We will gather the scientific evidence to underpin policies for planting and managing urban trees. Since city ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to global changes heat stress, droughts, flooding and pollution, urban trees need to be resilient to these changes. We will investigate why some species and accessions have proved highly sensitive, and others are hardy and tolerant; we will survey the range and importance the different species’ ecosystem services such as buffering city temperature, ameliorating particulate pollution and supporting biodiversity. This information will generate tools which can be applied in cities worldwide to guide urban plantation and management.