8th Annual Tāne Mahuta Public Lecture - 26th Oct 2017

8th Annual Tāne Mahuta Public Lecture

Held in conjunction with the NZ Notable Trees Trust & the NZ Arboricultural Association

6.00pm, Thursday 26th October 2017 - Trinity Wharf, Tauranga

Entry by Gold Coin donation with proceeds to the NZ Notable Trees Trust

Dr. Geoffrey Donovan, USDA Forest Service

Forest economist Geoffrey Donovan began his career with the USDA Forest Service in Alaska, but relocated to somewhat-less-rainy Portland, Oregon, where he is based. With over four-fifths of the U.S. population living in urban areas, he has focused his research on the contributions of trees to quality of life in cities. His work has answered a number of important policy-relevant questions about the impact of trees on the property market, energy use, and storm-water management. He has also broken ground by quantifying the impact of trees on human wellbeing, conducting one of the first studies to relate the presence and size of city trees to crime statistics, and the first study ever to measure the effect of tree canopy cover on human birth outcomes. He took a unique approach to untangling the link between trees and human health by studying how loss of ash trees to an invasive tree pest (the emerald ash borer) affected human mortality. Now on a sabbatical at Massey University’s Center for Public Health Research in Wellington, he is involved in several studies in New Zealand that explore the relationship between exposure to the natural environment and neuro-behavioural outcomes.

The benefits of urban trees: from the intuitive to the surprising

Most people’s experience with nature happens in an urban setting, so the impact of urban trees, parks, and gardens is amplified, because there are more of us around to enjoy their quality-of-life benefits. What exactly are these benefits? Most of us have an intuitive sense that trees are good, but to create sound policies and justify spending on urban-forestry programs, it’s essential to be able to identify and measure the social and economic benefits of trees. This presentation will offer new scientific evidence showing how investments in urban trees can yield much bigger long-term returns than many of us previously realized. Trees enhance our lives in tangible, common sense ways, such as by lowering our electrical bills and increasing property values. But a growing body of research is showing that these benefits are dwarfed by some of the less intuitive benefits of trees including crime reduction, improved public health, and better academic performance. Urban vitality does grow on trees, and it is becoming increasingly clear that trees are helping us live longer, happier, healthier lives.



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