On an Urban Heat Island, Zippy Red Oaks

According to a recent report by Columbia University researchers, red oak seedlings “grow up to eight times faster” in the city than in surrounding rural areas. This has been attributed to the “Urban Heat Island” effect, in which city-regions have a much hotter climate than its surrounding areas. These findings would appear to be conclusive as the researchers planted the red oak seedlings in varying proximity from the city. The data shows that the “seedlings grew much larger in the city, with decreasing growth as you get farther from the city.” As well, the researchers further tested the temperature in a laboratory setting and found the seedlings grew faster in hotter conditions. The researchers believe that these results could indicate that the “Urban heat island” effect, while previously given a negative connotation, could possible create a “boom to certain species” as “some organisms may thrive on urban conditions.”

Steven Angueira
AP Environmental Science
Topic #5: Urban Heat Island


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