"Cities need to plant more trees. But not just any trees.
As communities prepare for a massive influx of federal funding to support urban
forestry, their leaders say the tree canopy that grows to maturity 50 years
from now will need to be painted with a different palette than the one that
“You need a tree that’s going to survive the weather of today and the climate
of the future,” said Pete Smith, urban forestry program manager with the Arbor
Day Foundation, a Nebraska-based nonprofit that supports tree planting and
Forestry experts say trees are critical infrastructure that can help cities
withstand the effects of climate change by providing shade, absorbing
stormwater and filtering air pollution. But to do that, the trees themselves
need to be resilient.
“We’re developing planting lists that are diverse, that look at tolerance to
drought, storm events and flooding, heat, changes to the highs and lows,” said
Kevin Sayers, urban forestry coordinator with the Michigan Department of
Natural Resources. “The extremes in the weather are really going to limit us.”
While arborists look for trees that will thrive in the climate conditions
they’re likely to face in the coming decades, scientists say they can’t simply
count on a handful of climate “winners.” Many cities, for example, have lost
vast amounts of their tree canopy because they relied too heavily on one tree
type that was later wiped out by a pathogen or pest, such as Dutch elm disease
or the emerald ash borer.
“Unless we start diversifying the urban forest, we're going to end up losing
quite a bit of it again,” said John Ball, South Dakota State University
Extension forestry specialist and South Dakota Department of Agriculture
specialist on forest health."
Via The Fixer
January 4, 2023:
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