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Wednesday, April 11 • 3:45pm - 4:00pm
SYMPOSIA-15: Developing Climate Change-Adaptive Species Palettes for Urban Forests Restoration

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AUTHORS: Justin Bowers, Helen Forgione, Clara Pregitzter – Natural Areas Conservancy, Kristen King, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation; Sarah Charlop-Powers, Mina Kim – Natural Areas Conservancy

ABSTRACT: As atmospheric CO2 and average temperatures rise in coming years, climate change will impact the health and distribution of forests in the northeastern United States including range shifts of tree species northward. Local data on species abundance and composition in New York City Parks already shows changes in the species composition between tree seedling recruitment and tree canopy composition. Using our data collected in 1,124 forest plots we quantitatively characterized the abundance of species across different vegetation structural layers to analyze tree species distribution and abundance in NYC’s natural areas. We compared this data with climate models including the US Forest Service Climate Change Tree Atlas that predict the adaptability of tree species under future climate scenarios in urban forests. Here we present our process for developing planting lists that shift forest restoration planting palettes to species that are likely to thrive under future climate scenarios. We present preliminary results and restoration progress in natural area sites managed by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation as an example of proactive management of urban forest to support climate resiliency. Specifically we present lists of species projected to be resilient to increased temperatures and elevated C02 levels, species list and planting density recommendations for all current NYC ecological communities, and planting palettes of resilient species that are ecologically appropriate in existing stands of at-risk species. These lists will be incorporated into tools that will guide practitioners and non-scientist decision-makers towards selecting species that are site-appropriate as well as resilient to future projected conditions to ensure healthy functional forests. The developed species lists will continue to be adjusted based on future monitoring and restoration success. The completed project will serve as a model applicable to many northeastern cities.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 3:45pm - 4:00pm CDT
Spire Parlor