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Urban trees and the risk of poor birth outcomes


Yvonne L. Michael
David T. Butry
Amy D. Sullivan



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Pacific Northwest Research Station


Health & Place. 17: 390-393


This paper investigated whether greater tree-canopy cover is associated with reduced risk of poor birth outcomes in Portland, Oregon. Residential addresses were geocoded and linked to classified-aerial imagery to calculate tree-canopy cover in 50, 100, and 200 m buffers around each home in our sample (n=5696). Detailed data on maternal characteristics and additional neighborhood variables were obtained from birth certificates and tax records. We found that a 10% increase in tree-canopy cover within 50 m of a house reduced the number of small for gestational age births by 1.42 per 1000 births. Results suggest that the natural environment may affect pregnancy outcomes and should be evaluated in future research.


Donovan, Geoffrey H.; Michael, Yvonne L.; Butry, David T.; Sullivan, Amy D.; Chase, John M. 2011. Urban trees and the risk of poor birth outcomes. Health & Place. 17: 390-393.


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