American Forests, the oldest national conservation organization in the United States, teamed up with Alliance Data and Texas Trees Foundation (TTF) in 2017 to implement an urban heat island study in Dallas County. The study, which was recently published in Governing, identifies where the region is experiencing high urban heat island temperatures and the associated effect on air quality, and where greater tree canopy coverage could mitigate the issue.
Governing sites that, “Tree planting and preservation are three and a half times more effective in lowering temperatures as ‘cool materials strategies,’ such as the use of paving and roofing materials that reflect light.”
The study also uncovered that Dallas is warming faster than all but two large U.S. cities, which means hotter nights and even hotter days. Within urban heat islands, the hottest areas in the city, temperatures average over 100 degrees for more than five months out of the year. The study is serving as a catalyst for developing a strategy to promote tree canopy policies and long-term funding support with local government, civic and non-profit organizations.
The article states, “While planting 1,000 trees is a good start, much more needs to be done. To have a real impact on urban heat island effects, TTF reported, Dallas needs to add about 250,000 trees to its canopy.”
A more detailed breakdown of the study’s results can be viewed in a presentation by Dr. Brian Stone, Georgia Institute of Technology, who helped make the study and its data a reality. Read the full report.