Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version



Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2021.


Copyright Wilken 2021


Following the industrial revolution, the impacts of climate change have been increasingly impactful on both rural and urban populations around the world. As population density and urbanization increase throughout the globe, the influences of climate change will continue to play a dangerous role in its influence on people's lives. Due to negative health impacts on humans and the economic costs in cities, climate change is one of the most important issues to understand in the 21st century. Air quality and human health are two components of climate change that are impacted most significantly. The bulk of this work is to understand the influence that urban forests have on air quality and human health in relation to urban forests and to highlight the importance of the species composition within them. Much of the existing research fails to highlight many of the critical factors involved in determining the effectiveness of urban forests in providing ecosystem services, including purifying air and water, reducing the urban heat island effect, increasing property values, and numerous other important benefits. Using a systematic literature review of existing information and a case study on the land cover composition of New York City us i-Tree Canopy this study will be able to benefit our understanding of how urban forests influence society. The host of benefits provided by the literature review and the case study will be able to improve the understanding that we have on how urban forests effectively provide numerous different ecosystem services, including the improvement of air quality and human health.