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Can urban forests help cities adapt to climate change?

Urban forests can both help reduce climate change and help urban society cope with its impacts.

As growing trees remove carbon dioxide from the air, storing the carbon in their biomass, urban forests are an important part of our response to climate change. Furthermore, urban forests provide a wider range of benefits to society. They make towns more attractive places to live and provide habitats for a wide variety of animals, helping us stay connected to nature. They provide natural solutions to help reduce the impacts of extreme weather.

While urban trees may bring disbenefits at times, these are often associated with planting the wrong type of tree for the location, and so many disbenefits can be minimised through appropriate species selection.

Wider benefits of urban forests:

  • Biodiversity: by providing space for wildlife, trees support ecosystems, including networks of pollinators.
  • Economy: trees make places more appealing to live and work in, attracting business.
  • Education: trees are a key focal point for learning outside of the classroom.
  • Food provision: some trees provide edible fruits and berries.
  • Health: trees encourage physical recreation and support good mental health.
  • Noise: trees help to reduce noise pollution.
  • Wood: trees provide wood for fuel and crafts.

About the series

Aimed at practitioners, the factsheets showcase the breadth of research carried out by Forest Research, sometimes over decades, into how trees and forests are facing the challenges of climate change, and actionable insights into how trees and woodlands can help mitigate the effects of climate change.

Publication type
Climate change series
Publication owner
Forest Research