Like here in South Africa’s capital of Cape Town, samples were taken from heartwood in trees from metropolises. <br/> Photo. © TUM
Like here in South Africa’s capital of Cape Town, samples were taken from heartwood in trees from metropolises.
Photo. © TUM

24.11.2017

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Trees in metropolitan areas have been growing faster than trees in rural areas world-wide since the 1960s, a study on the impact of the urban heat island effect on tree growths shows. Trees in urban areas have already been exposed to changing climatic conditions for a longer period than those in rural environments.

A study conducted by an international team of scientists led by Technical University of Munich (TUM ), Germany, shows that the growth of urban trees has already been exposed to changing climatic conditions for a long period, which is only just beginning to happen for trees in rural areas. This is the first time that an analysis has systematically examined the growth of urban trees world-wide for trends resulting from changing environmental conditions.

“While the effects of climate change on tree growth in forests have been extensively studied, little information is so far available for urban trees,” said Professor Hans Pretzsch from the Chair for Forest Growth and Yield Science at TUM, who headed the study. It was published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

A central motivation for Pretzsch’s team is the prevailing trend towards global urbanisation. According to calculations by the United Nations, the urban population world-wide is expected to increase by more than 60 per cent by 2030 – with a continuing upward trend.

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