lienyuan lee [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This article was originally published on Mongabay.


  • More than half the world’s population lives in cities, and that’s set to rise to two-thirds – more than 6 billion people – by 2050. Yet we still depend on forests more than we think.
  • Having wild places around is critical, not just for nature but also for people. A wealth of studies have shown that cities with plenty of trees feel like healthier, happier places than those without.
  • While deforestation has many drivers, one underlying challenge is that society doesn’t value forests enough. That’s something we can – and need to – change as individuals and as a collective. It starts with spending time in forests, connecting with nature, and showing that we care.

“…As air pollution emerges as a major global health risk, urban trees can be highly effective filters, removing harmful pollutants and particulates from the air. They also shield us against noise pollution, which can have significant physiological and psychological impacts.

Hong Kong, like many major cities, also depends on its forests for its water supply. Forests are like giant sponges that soak up rainfall and release it slowly, keeping reservoirs recharged while also reducing the risk of flooding.

In addition to mitigating global climate change by storing carbon, trees help to control local temperatures, as well. As climate change brings more extreme heatwaves, urban “heat islands” are an increasing problem. Strategically placed trees in cities not only provide much-needed shade, but can also affect the local micro-climate — they have been shown to cool the air by as much as 8°C, and reduce air conditioning use by 30 percent.

But having access to forests and other green spaces also benefits us on a much more personal level. Most days, I take my dog for a walk in the forest and feel re-energized by the experience. It’s not just about the physical exercise: getting out into nature is the best way of mentally recharging your batteries…”

Read on at: Mongabay.