Fort Totten, NY, United States
Fort Totten, NY, United States

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King K.L.,Horticulture and Natural Resources Group | Locke D.H.,NYC Urban Field Station
Arboriculture and Urban Forestry | Year: 2013

Measurements of urban tree canopy cover are crucial for managing urban forests and required for the quantification of the benefits provided by trees. These types of data are increasingly used to secure funding and justify large-scale planting programs in urban areas. Comparisons of tree canopy measurement methods have been conducted before, but a rapidly evolving set of new technologies and applications may leave urban foresters wondering, "Which method is most appropriate for my circumstances?" This analysis compares two well-established measures of local tree canopy and building cover with a third, relatively untested technique. Field-based visual estimations (using the USDA Forest Service's i-Tree protocols), summaries of highresolution land cover data using geographic information systems (GIS), and an analysis of skyward-oriented hemispherical photographs at 215 roadside sites across the five diverse counties of New York City, New York, U.S., are the methods evaluated herein. The study authors found no statistically significant differences between the methods when comparing tree canopy; however, the hemispherical camera had a tendency to overestimate building coverage. It is concluded that hemispheric photo techniques are understudied in urban areas, and that the i-Tree and GIS-based approaches are complementary and reinforcing tools indispensable for both the urban forest management and research communities. © 2013 International Society of Arboriculture.

Oldfield E.E.,Yale University | Felson A.J.,Yale University | Auyeung D.S.N.,NYC Urban Field Station | Crowther T.W.,Yale University | And 9 more authors.
Restoration Ecology | Year: 2015

Forests are vital components of the urban landscape because they provide ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, storm-water mitigation, and air-quality improvement. To enhance these services, cities are investing in programs to create urban forests. A major unknown, however, is whether planted trees will grow into the mature, closed-canopied forest on which ecosystem service provision depends. We assessed the influence of biotic and abiotic land management on planted tree performance as part of urban forest restoration in New York City, U.S.A. Biotic treatments were designed to improve tree growth, with the expectation that higher tree species composition (six vs. two) and greater stand complexity (with shrubs vs. without) would facilitate tree performance. Similarly, the abiotic treatment (compost amendment vs. without) was expected to increase tree performance by improving soil conditions. Growth and survival was measured for approximately 1,300 native saplings across three growing seasons. The biotic and abiotic treatments significantly improved tree performance, where shrub presence increased tree height for five of the six tree species, and compost increased basal area and stem volume of all species. Species-specific responses, however, highlighted the difficulty of achieving rapid growth with limited mortality. Pioneer species had the highest growth in stem volume over 3 years (up to 3,500%), but also the highest mortality (up to 40%). Mid-successional species had lower mortality (<16%), but also the slowest growth in volume (approximately 500% in volume). Our results suggest that there will be trade-offs between optimizing tree growth versus survival when implementing urban tree planting initiatives. © 2015 Society for Ecological Restoration.

Simmons B.L.,NYC Urban Field Station | Hallett R.A.,Northern Research Station | Sonti N.F.,Northern Research Station | Auyeung D.S.N.,NYC Urban Field Station | Lu J.W.T.,Innovation and Performance Management
Restoration Ecology | Year: 2016

Creating, restoring, and sustaining forests in urban areas are complicated by habitat fragmentation, invasive species, and degraded soils. Although there is some research on the outcomes of urban reforestation plantings during the first 5 years, there is little research on longer term outcomes. Here, we compare the successional trajectories of restored and unrestored forest sites 20 years after initiating restoration. The sites are located within the Rodman's Neck area of Pelham Bay Park, in the northeast corner of the Bronx in New York City (NYC), U.S.A. Compared with unrestored sites, we saw improvements in species diversity, greater forest structure complexity, and evidence of the regeneration and retention of native tree species in restored sites. In addition, we found differences in restoration outcomes depending on the level of intervention: clearing exotic shrubs and vines and planting native trees and shrubs improved tree diversity and canopy closure to a greater extent than clearing exotics alone, and the mechanical removal of invasive plants after the native plantings further improved some measures of restoration, such as tree species diversity and native tree regeneration. The results of this study suggest that the goal of a sustainable forest ecosystem dominated by native trees and other plant species may not be achievable without continued human intervention on site. In addition, these results indicate that the restoration approach adopted by NYC's reforestation practitioners is moving the site toward a more desirable vegetative community dominated by native species. © 2016 Society for Ecological Restoration.

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