Autumn colors on a deciduous tree.
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Mother Nature's Air Conditioning
News story originally written on July 11, 1997
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain animal life. But forests are not only the heart and lungs of the world, they are its air conditioning too!
In fact, NASA researchers are studying how "urban forests" help keep our cities cool. Urban forests are any trees and plants that are found in our cities.
Cities are getting hotter and hotter. This is because humans are replacing plants with material such as asphalt and concrete. Asphalt and concrete can be 20-40 degrees hotter than surfaces like grass. You have probably noticed this on a summer day. Walking bare-foot on the sidewalk burns, but the grass still feels cool to your feet.
Trees and plants make our cities beautiful and they also help keep our cities cool.
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