Urban Forests Could Offer Respite from Sweltering Summers | Be Korea-savvy

Urban Forests Could Offer Respite from Sweltering Summers

Samchungro. (Image : Seoul Metropolitan Government)

Samchungro. (Image : Seoul Metropolitan Government)

DAEJEON, July 31 (Korea Bizwire)The Korea Forest Service has announced a plan to create ‘City Forests’ in 559 locations all over the nation. A budget of 113.1 billion won has been allocated to the project.

According to the Korea Forest Service, average temperatures in the seven big Korean cities, including Seoul, Busan, Daegu and Incheon have risen 1.85 degrees over the past 100 years. Considering that the average temperature of the earth has risen 0.85 degrees over the past 130 years, the increase is significant.

While temperatures are soaring, a forest in the middle of the city could help to offset problems associated with the urban heat island effect. Forests can lower the average temperature on a hot summer day by three to seven degrees Celsius, and increase the average humidity by nine to 23 percent.

One Sycamore (platanus) tree has the equal effect of running 10 air conditioners that cover 534 square feet for seven hours.

Analyzing the impact of a city forest on the urban heat island effect, if a forest is enlarged by 1 square foot, average consumption of electricity decreases by 20KW per hour, and the average temperature of a hot summer day drops by 1.15 degrees.

The Korean Forest Service has been creating city forests since 2005. The plan is to create places for leisure, reduce noise and pollution, and lower the temperature of the city. They plan to increase the number of green spaces to 4,002 before 2017. There were 2,755 city forests last year.

The urban heat island effect is a phenomenon in which the middle of a city has a higher temperature than the suburbs. It usually happens on clear days without any wind. Artificial heat created by houses, factories and cars, concrete buildings, asphalt-covered streets, and air pollution are said to be the main reasons.

Lee Yong-seok, the head of the city scenery division, comments on their plans to increase the number of green spaces. “Due to the positive effects of urban forests, like lowering temperatures, saving electricity and enhancing the health of residents, we plan to continue creating city forests so that everyone can enjoy the cool forest breeze.”

By M.H. Lee (mhlee@koreabizwire.com)

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