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News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

In a first-ever assessment of urban forest vulnerability to climate change in the Chicago region, a team led by the USDA Forest Service concluded that native tree species in a 7-million-acre area may decline while invasive species may thrive with shifts in habitat suitability. Seventeen percent of the tree species currently present in the region have either moderate-high or high vulnerability to climate change, and 77 percent of individual trees with low vulnerability are invasive species. "The value of assessing the region's vulnerability to climate change is that it gives decision-makers, land managers and homeowners an opportunity to plan ahead," said Leslie Brandt, a climate change specialist with the Forest Service and lead author of the Chicago region assessment. "Communities have invested in their urban forests, and the information that we provide can be used to maintain healthy forests that continue to provide services like removing pollutants from the air, reducing energy costs, and managing stormwater." Published this week by the USDA Forest Service's Northern Research Station, the assessment evaluates urban forests within a region served by Chicago Wilderness, an alliance of more than 200 organizations working to improve quality of life for people and improve natural resources in portions of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The vulnerability assessment documents past and current conditions, and synthesizes the potential impacts of climate change on urban forests in the Chicago Wilderness region. The assessment also presents case studies of assessing vulnerability at the scale of municipal forestry and parks departments and describes future management considerations. The assessment also provides a process for municipalities, park districts, and forest preserve districts to assess their vulnerability to climate change based on impacts and adaptive capacity. "Chicago Wilderness Region Urban Forest Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis: A Report from the Urban Forestry Climate Change Response Framework Chicago Wilderness Pilot Project" is available online at. https:/ In the past century, the Chicago region has warmed by about 1 degree Fahrenheit and has experienced a significant increase in precipitation, as much as 3 inches during the summer. Climate modeling for the region projects that: "We see this information as an important resource as communities struggle to manage the urban forest with fewer resources," said Lydia Scott, director of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative and a co-author of the report. "They need to have the best science available to assist them to make informed decisions. The urban forest in the Chicago region provides $51.2 billion in compensatory services to the residents who live here, so careful management of this critical resource is imperative." Led by the Forest Service's Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, the assessment is part of the Urban Forestry Climate Change Response Framework project, a collaborative approach among researchers, managers, and landowners to incorporate climate change considerations into urban forest management. More information can be found at https:/ A partnership among the Forest Service, universities, non-government organizations and industry, the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science develops synthesis products, fosters communication, and pursues science in the focus areas of carbon science and management, climate change, and bioenergy. In addition to Forest Service researchers, the report's authors include staff with Chicago Wilderness, the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, the Field Museum, The Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Chicago Botanic Garden, Davey Institute, and the University of California, Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. The mission of the Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the Nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).


Persad A.B.,Davey Institute | Siefer J.,Davey Institute | Kirby S.,Davey Tree Experts | Rocha O.J.,Kent State University | And 3 more authors.
Arboriculture and Urban Forestry | Year: 2013

Emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive insect borer on ash trees, currently occurs in the Untied States and Canada. In many regions, large populations of ash trees are affected with many trees exhibiting partial to full canopy dieback. Several cases exist in northwest Ohio, U.S., where EAB infested ash branches or stems fail prematurely during deadwood pruning or whole tree removal. This study was initiated to resolve the effects of EAB on the material properties of ash branches and stems. Visually non-infested ash trees and trees with recent and advanced EAB activity were examined. The data from static loading tests on primary branches indicate that maximum bending stress at failure was not significantly lower in EAB infested trees compared to non-infested trees. Examination of the fracture zone, however, revealed that wood moisture was significantly lower and more cracking was observed in wood sections of branches taken from EAB infested trees. During static loading, branch failure at the union occurred only in the EAB infested trees. In a wood resistance evaluation of infested and non-infested ash stems, significantly lower resistance was observed in advanced EAB infested ash stems when drilled at the base compared to drill sites 1 m above. This was not observed at similar drill site heights in the visually non-infested ash stems. These data may help identify risk elements associated with structural and material degradation of ash wood as early as one to two years after infestation by EAB. © 2013 International Society of Arboriculture.


Steenberg J.W.N.,Ryerson University | Millward A.A.,Ryerson University | Nowak D.J.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Robinson P.J.,Ryerson University | Ellis A.,Davey Institute
Environmental Management | Year: 2016

The benefits derived from urban forest ecosystems are garnering increasing attention in ecological research and municipal planning. However, because of their location in heterogeneous and highly-altered urban landscapes, urban forests are vulnerable and commonly suffer disproportionate and varying levels of stress and disturbance. The objective of this study is to assess and analyze the spatial and temporal changes, and potential vulnerability, of the urban forest resource in Toronto, Canada. This research was conducted using a spatially-explicit, indicator-based assessment of vulnerability and i-Tree Forecast modeling of temporal changes in forest structure and function. Nine scenarios were simulated for 45 years and model output was analyzed at the ecosystem and municipal scale. Substantial mismatches in ecological processes between spatial scales were found, which can translate into unanticipated loss of function and social inequities if not accounted for in planning and management. At the municipal scale, the effects of Asian longhorned beetle and ice storm disturbance were far less influential on structure and function than changes in management actions. The strategic goals of removing invasive species and increasing tree planting resulted in a decline in carbon storage and leaf biomass. Introducing vulnerability parameters in the modeling increased the spatial heterogeneity in structure and function while expanding the disparities of resident access to ecosystem services. There was often a variable and uncertain relationship between vulnerability and ecosystem structure and function. Vulnerability assessment and analysis can provide strategic planning initiatives with valuable insight into the processes of structural and functional change resulting from management intervention. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York


Nowak D.J.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Hirabayashi S.,Davey Institute | Bodine A.,Davey Institute | Greenfield E.,U.S. Department of Agriculture
Environmental Pollution | Year: 2014

Trees remove air pollution by the interception of particulate matter on plant surfaces and the absorption of gaseous pollutants through the leaf stomata. However, the magnitude and value of the effects of trees and forests on air quality and human health across the United States remains unknown. Computer simulations with local environmental data reveal that trees and forests in the conterminous United States removed 17.4 million tonnes (t) of air pollution in 2010 (range: 9.0-23.2 million t), with human health effects valued at 6.8 billion U.S. dollars (range: $1.5-13.0 billion). This pollution removal equated to an average air quality improvement of less than one percent. Most of the pollution removal occurred in rural areas, while most of the health impacts and values were within urban areas. Health impacts included the avoidance of more than 850 incidences of human mortality and 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms. © Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Morani A.,CNR Institute of Agro-environmental and Forest Biology | Nowak D.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Hirabayashi S.,Davey Institute | Guidolotti G.,CNR Institute of Agro-environmental and Forest Biology | And 6 more authors.
Environmental Pollution | Year: 2014

Ozone flux estimates from the i-Tree model were compared with ozone flux measurements using the Eddy Covariance technique in a periurban Mediterranean forest near Rome (Castelporziano). For the first time i-Tree model outputs were compared with field measurements in relation to dry deposition estimates. Results showed generally a good agreement between predicted and measured ozone fluxes (least sum square = 5.6 e-4) especially when cumulative values over the whole measurement campaign are considered. However at daily and hourly time-step some overestimations were observed in estimated values especially in hot dry periods. The use of different m values in the Ball-Berry formula in the different periods, produced the best fit between predicted and measured ozone fluxes. This suggests that a variable value for the coefficient m accounting for water availability may be appropriate to improve model estimates for Mediterranean and drought prone regions. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Persad A.B.,Davey Institute | Tobin P.C.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Tobin P.C.,University of Washington
Arboriculture and Urban Forestry | Year: 2015

The emerald ash borer (EAB), first discovered in North America in Michigan in 2002, continues to expand its distributional range. Early detection of EAB remains a major caveat in efforts to implement proactive management strategies. Past reports have shown that ash trees infested with EAB have an increased risk of branch failure and other symptoms associated with tree decline. Therefore, early detection efforts could be improved if a suite of tree symptoms - prior to visible signs of EAB infestation - can be identified. Researchers initiated a four-year study in Ohio, U.S. (2009-2012) to investigate and document symptoms associated with the EAB-ash tree complex in urban sites. The prior history of EAB at the study sites ranged from ash trees with no visible evidence of infestation to those that were infested for more than two years. In trees shown to be recently colonized by EAB, visible signs of infestation, such as adult emergence holes, presence of EAB galleries, bark loss, and canopy loss were not always apparent. However, in EAB-positive trees, there was a significant tendency for the presence of cracks in scaffold branches, branch fractures within the upper canopy, and branch fractures specifically located closer to the union with the stem as opposed to at the branch tip or at the branch's center of gravity. This study highlights tree symptoms associated with the initial colonization of EAB when host trees are still apparently healthy, which could greatly facilitate future detection efforts for EAB. ©2015 International Society of Arboriculture


Nowak D.J.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Hoehn R.E.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Bodine A.R.,Davey Institute | Greenfield E.J.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | O'Neil-Dunne J.,University of Vermont
Urban Ecosystems | Year: 2013

The tree population within the City of Syracuse was assessed using a random sampling of plots in 1999, 2001 and 2009 to determine how the population and the ecosystem services these trees provide have changed over time. Ecosystem services and values for carbon sequestration, air pollution removal and changes in building energy use were derived using the i-Tree Eco model. In addition, photo interpretation of aerial images was used to determine changes in tree cover between the mid-1990s and 2009. Between the mid-1990s and 2003, tree cover in Syracuse exhibited a decline from 27.5 to 25.9 %, but subsequently increased to 26.9 % by 2009. The total tree population exhibited a similar pattern, dropping from 881,000 trees in 1999 to 862,000 in 2001, and then increasing to 1,087,000 trees in 2009. Most of this increase in the urban tree population is due to invasive or pioneer trees species, particularly Rhamnus cathartica, which has more than tripled in population between 2001 and 2009. Insects such as gypsy moth and emerald ash borer pose a substantial risk to altering future urban forest composition. The annual ecosystem services provided by the urban forest in relation to carbon sequestration, air pollution removal and reduction in building energy use are estimated at about $2.4 million per year. An improved understanding of urban forests and how they are changing can facilitate better management plans to sustain ecosystem services and desired forest structure for future generations. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA).


Nowak D.J.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Hirabayashi S.,Davey Institute | Bodine A.,Davey Institute | Hoehn R.,U.S. Department of Agriculture
Environmental Pollution | Year: 2013

Urban particulate air pollution is a serious health issue. Trees within cities can remove fine particles from the atmosphere and consequently improve air quality and human health. Tree effects on PM2.5 concentrations and human health are modeled for 10 U.S. cities. The total amount of PM 2.5 removed annually by trees varied from 4.7 tonnes in Syracuse to 64.5 tonnes in Atlanta, with annual values varying from $1.1 million in Syracuse to $60.1 million in New York City. Most of these values were from the effects of reducing human mortality. Mortality reductions were typically around 1 person yr-1 per city, but were as high as 7.6 people yr-1 in New York City. Average annual percent air quality improvement ranged between 0.05% in San Francisco and 0.24% in Atlanta. Understanding the impact of urban trees on air quality can lead to improved urban forest management strategies to sustain human health in cities. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


PubMed | Ryerson University, Davey Institute and U.S. Department of Agriculture
Type: | Journal: Environmental management | Year: 2016

The benefits derived from urban forest ecosystems are garnering increasing attention in ecological research and municipal planning. However, because of their location in heterogeneous and highly-altered urban landscapes, urban forests are vulnerable and commonly suffer disproportionate and varying levels of stress and disturbance. The objective of this study is to assess and analyze the spatial and temporal changes, and potential vulnerability, of the urban forest resource in Toronto, Canada. This research was conducted using a spatially-explicit, indicator-based assessment of vulnerability and i-Tree Forecast modeling of temporal changes in forest structure and function. Nine scenarios were simulated for 45years and model output was analyzed at the ecosystem and municipal scale. Substantial mismatches in ecological processes between spatial scales were found, which can translate into unanticipated loss of function and social inequities if not accounted for in planning and management. At the municipal scale, the effects of Asian longhorned beetle and ice storm disturbance were far less influential on structure and function than changes in management actions. The strategic goals of removing invasive species and increasing tree planting resulted in a decline in carbon storage and leaf biomass. Introducing vulnerability parameters in the modeling increased the spatial heterogeneity in structure and function while expanding the disparities of resident access to ecosystem services. There was often a variable and uncertain relationship between vulnerability and ecosystem structure and function. Vulnerability assessment and analysis can provide strategic planning initiatives with valuable insight into the processes of structural and functional change resulting from management intervention.

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