The Atmospheric System: Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases

  • David J. NowakEmail author


Trees in cities affect air quality and greenhouse gases in numerous ways and consequently affect environmental quality and human health. Urban vegetation can directly and indirectly affect local and regional air quality by altering the urban atmospheric environment. The main ways that urban trees affect air quality and greenhouse gases are through (a) air temperature reduction and other microclimatic effects, (b) removal of air pollutants and atmospheric carbon, (c) emission of volatile organic compounds and emissions associated with tree maintenance, and (d) altering energy use in buildings and consequently pollutant and carbon emissions from power plants. By understanding the effects of trees and forests on the atmospheric environment, managers can design appropriate and healthy vegetation structure in cities to improve air quality and consequently human health and well-being for current and future generations.


Pollution removal Climate change VOC emissions Urban forests Air temperature 

Supplementary material

458872_1_En_8_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.2 mb)
Field_Exercise_2_UrbanMetabolism (DOCX 1274 KB)
458872_1_En_8_MOESM2_ESM.docx (861 kb)
Field_Exercise_6_UrbanTrees and AtmosphericPollution (DOCX 862 KB)


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northern Research StationUSDA Forest ServiceSyracuseUSA

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