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Breathing Room

Growing Cities Must Add Woodlands

The U.S. Forest Service has determined that as the acreage of urban environments more than doubles between 2010 and 2060, green spaces and urban forests need to expand to maintain air quality, moderate climate change and lower energy use. The federal agency, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, favors an increase in the tree canopy that can save cities billions of dollars in pollution removal, energy efficiency and carbon sequestration.

In China, air pollution is such a serious problem that it was responsible for a third of all deaths there in 2016. The government has deployed troops to plant a 32,400-square-mile, pollution-absorbing “sponge” of forested land around Beijing, China’s densely populated and highly polluted capital city.


This article appears in the December 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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