Modeled PM2.5 removal by trees in ten U.S. cities and associated health effects

Environ Pollut. 2013 Jul:178:395-402. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2013.03.050. Epub 2013 Apr 25.


Urban particulate air pollution is a serious health issue. Trees within cities can remove fine particles from the atmosphere and consequently improve air quality and human health. Tree effects on PM2.5 concentrations and human health are modeled for 10 U.S. cities. The total amount of PM2.5 removed annually by trees varied from 4.7 tonnes in Syracuse to 64.5 tonnes in Atlanta, with annual values varying from $1.1 million in Syracuse to $60.1 million in New York City. Most of these values were from the effects of reducing human mortality. Mortality reductions were typically around 1 person yr(-1) per city, but were as high as 7.6 people yr(-1) in New York City. Average annual percent air quality improvement ranged between 0.05% in San Francisco and 0.24% in Atlanta. Understanding the impact of urban trees on air quality can lead to improved urban forest management strategies to sustain human health in cities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollutants / metabolism
  • Air Pollution / statistics & numerical data
  • Atmosphere / chemistry*
  • Cities
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Models, Chemical*
  • Particle Size
  • Particulate Matter / analysis*
  • Particulate Matter / metabolism
  • Trees / chemistry*
  • Trees / physiology
  • United States


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter