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Creators/Authors contains: "Hutyra, Lucy R."

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  4. Abstract

    Greenspace in schools might enhance students' academic performance. However, the literature—dominated by ecological studies at the school level in countries from the Northern Hemisphere—presents mixed evidence of a beneficial association. We evaluated the association between school greenness and student‐level academic performance in Santiago, Chile, a capital city of the Global South. This cross‐sectional study included 281,695 fourth‐grade students attending 1,498 public, charter, and private schools in Santiago city between 2014 and 2018. Student‐level academic performance was assessed using standardized test scores and indicators of attainment of learning standards in mathematics and reading. School greenness was estimated using Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Linear and generalized linear mixed‐effects models were fit to evaluate associations, adjusting for individual‐ and school‐level sociodemographic factors. Analyses were stratified by school type. In fully adjusted models, a 0.1 increase in school greenness was associated with higher test scores in mathematics (36.9 points, 95% CI: 2.49; 4.88) and in reading (1.84 points, 95% CI: 0.73; 2.95); as well as with higher odds of attaining learning standards in mathematics (OR: 1.20, 95% CI: 1.12; 1.28) and reading (OR: 1.07, 95% CI: 1.02; 1.13). Stratified analysis showed differences by school type, with associations of greater magnitude and strengthmore »for students attending public schools. No significant associations were detected for students in private schools. Higher school greenness was associated with improved individual‐level academic outcomes among elementary‐aged students in a capital city in South America. Our results highlight the potential of greenness in the school environment to moderate educational and environmental inequalities in urban areas.

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  5. Abstract

    Fragmentation transforms the environment along forest edges. The prevailing narrative, driven by research in tropical systems, suggests that edge environments increase tree mortality and structural degradation resulting in net decreases in ecosystem productivity. We show that, in contrast to tropical systems, temperate forest edges exhibit increased forest growth and biomass with no change in total mortality relative to the forest interior. We analyze >48,000 forest inventory plots across the north-eastern US using a quasi-experimental matching design. At forest edges adjacent to anthropogenic land covers, we report increases of 36.3% and 24.1% in forest growth and biomass, respectively. Inclusion of edge impacts increases estimates of forest productivity by up to 23% in agriculture-dominated areas, 15% in the metropolitan coast, and +2% in the least-fragmented regions. We also quantify forest fragmentation globally, at 30-m resolution, showing that temperate forests contain 52% more edge forest area than tropical forests. Our analyses upend the conventional wisdom of forest edges as less productive than intact forest and call for a reassessment of the conservation value of forest fragments.

  6. Mercury (Hg) is an environmental toxicant dangerous to human health and the environment. Its anthropogenic emissions are regulated by global, regional, and local policies. Here, we investigate Hg sources in the coastal city of Boston, the third largest metropolitan area in the Northeastern United States. With a median of 1.37 ng m −3 , atmospheric Hg concentrations measured from August 2017 to April 2019 were at the low end of the range reported in the Northern Hemisphere and in the range reported at North American rural sites. Despite relatively low ambient Hg concentrations, we estimate anthropogenic emissions to be 3–7 times higher than in current emission inventories using a measurement-model framework, suggesting an underestimation of small point and/or nonpoint emissions. We also test the hypothesis that a legacy Hg source from the ocean contributes to atmospheric Hg concentrations in the study area; legacy emissions (recycling of previously deposited Hg) account for ∼60% of Hg emitted annually worldwide (and much of this recycling takes place through the oceans). We find that elevated concentrations observed during easterly oceanic winds can be fully explained by low wind speeds and recirculating air allowing for accumulation of land-based emissions. This study suggests that the influencemore »of nonpoint land-based emissions may be comparable in size to point sources in some regions and highlights the benefits of further top-down studies in other areas.« less
  7. The impacts of extreme heat events are amplified in cities due to unique urban thermal properties. Urban greenspace mitigates high temperatures through evapotranspiration and shading; however, quantification of vegetative cooling potential in cities is often limited to simple remote sensing greenness indices or sparse, in situ measurements. Here, we develop a spatially explicit, high-resolution model of urban latent heat flux from vegetation. The model iterates through three core equations that consider urban climatological and physiological characteristics, producing estimates of latent heat flux at 30-m spatial resolution and hourly temporal resolution. We find strong agreement between field observations and model estimates of latent heat flux across a range of ecosystem types, including cities. This model introduces a valuable tool to quantify the spatial heterogeneity of vegetation cooling benefits across the complex landscape of cities at an adequate resolution to inform policies addressing the effects of extreme heat events.