NGIA Nursery Paper April 2013

Urban Vegetation and Heat Related Mortality

In this month’s Nursery Paper, Dr Dong Chen and the team from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) look at urban vegetation and its impact upon heat related mortality. This research represents one of the first attempts to develop quantitative estimates of the potential benefit of urban vegetation in reducing heat related mortality. It was undertaken by a research team from CSIRO working closely with the NGIA, and involved modelling of vegetation and mortality relationships for the summer of 2009 and projected future climates in 2030 and 2050 for the city of Melbourne. The team found some differences among the results for 2009, 2030 and 2050, but the overall trend was that urban vegetation can potentially reduce excess heat related mortality. Different urban vegetation scenarios were tested, with the forest scheme predicted to achieve 60-100% reduction in excess mortality rate incomparison with the CBD vegetation scheme. From these results it is recommended that urban vegetation be a key component in heat wave mitigation and for preventative health.

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