Why Trees Grow 8 Times Faster In New York City

central park trees

Photo: Ed Yourdon on Flickr

Trees in New York City grow up to eight times faster than those in rural areas like the Catskills, according to a new study by Kevin Griffin at Columbia University.Common native red oaks thrived in the city because the environment is chronically warmer, researchers say. That’s because pavement retains heat and keeps the ground warmer, expediting photosynthesis. 

Griffin and his team compared growth of trees they planted in New York City’s Central Park and the rural Catskill mountains 100 miles away. They gave the trees the same care and fertiliser.

Similar studies in Arizona and Japan have shown that trees in urban areas go faster, the Earth Institute at Columbia University reported. Conifers in Alaska have grown more quickly, in step with global warming and rising temperatures.

The urban trees’ fast growth could become the norm in the future as Earth becomes more populous.

“Cities are special places — they might be laboratories for what the world will look like in coming years,”  forest ecologist Gary Lovett told Columbia. 

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