A study of the The City of Trees namesake hopes to find tools for reducing air pollution and maybe even help energy conservation.
Two teams of students from the College of Western Idaho and Meridian’s Technical Charter High School will be gather information at 250 sites around Boise to determine how much the trees are cleaning up the city's air. The study will provide a baseline that will be used in federal and state air quality plans and help guide how much more trees might make Boise's air cleaner.
The students will ask landowners for permission to collect sample information about trees. The information they gather will be combined with a GIS analysis of the area.
"The overall purpose is to better understand the contribution of tree canopy in the developed and rapidly developing areas of the Treasure Valley, and how to begin using trees as a tool to more strategically address these issues,” said David Stephenson of the Idaho Department of Lands in a press release.
The tree canopy project is a partnership between the Idaho Department of Lands with the City of Boise’s Community Forestry Unit, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Ada County Highway District and other agencies.The Forest Service paid for it with a $300,000 grant and new trees.
City Forester Brian Jorgenson says that trees can be powerful tools in the area’s efforts to improve air quality
"Trees can substantially lower ozone production by blocking sunlight and lowering temperatures on surfaces that emit nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds caused by asphalt, fuel tanks and buildings,” he said.
The tree canopy also intercepts and filters particulate pollution. A final report, expected in the fall, will also evaluate the impact of the urban tree canopy on energy conservation and stormwater abatement, Stephenson said.