The study compared performance of 624 public high schools in the state of Illinois, based on standard academic measures, with tree cover density surrounding each school, derived from the 2011 National Land Cover Database produced by the US Department of the Interior.
"Tree cover density within a 1-mile radius of high schools was positively associated with ACT scores and college readiness, even after controlling for factors known to influence academic performance," they found.
Tree cover density at 0.5-mile and 1-mile buffer distances meanwhile showed a stronger association with ACT scores and college readiness.
"Our findings contribute to an emerging body of evidence showing that tree cover density is positively associated with adolescents’ academic performance, suggesting the importance of forestry management in school surroundings in support of learning," they conclude.
The findings are published in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening.