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Wednesday, April 11 • 1:45pm - 2:00pm
SYMPOSIA-15: Chicago Region Urban Forestry Climate Change Response Framework

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AUTHORS: Leslie Brandt*, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, USDA Forest Service; Abigail Derby Lewis, Keller Science Action Center, The Field Museum; Lydia Scott, Chicago Region Trees Initiative, The Morton Arboretum; Lindsay Darling, The Morton Arboretum; Robert Fahey, University of Connecticut; Louis Iverson, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, USDA forest Service; Stephen Matthews, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, USDA Forest Service and The Ohio State University; Chris Swanston, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, USDA Forest Service

ABSTRACT: The urban forest of the Chicago Wilderness region, a 7-million-acre area covering portions of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, will face direct and indirect impacts from a changing climate over the 21st century. We developed the Urban Forestry Climate Change Response Framework to identify factors that contribute to vulnerability of the urban forest and develop strategies to adapt to those changes. An analysis of tree species vulnerability that combines model projections, shifts in hardiness and heat zones, and adaptive capacity showed that 15 percent of the trees currently present in the region have either moderate-high or high vulnerability to climate change, and many of those trees with low vulnerability are invasive species.We also developed a process for self-assessment of urban forest vulnerability that was tested by urban forestry professionals from four municipalities, three park districts, and three forest preserve districts in the region. The professionals generally rated the impacts of climate change on the places they managed as moderately negative, mostly driven by the potential effects of extreme storms and heavy precipitation on trees in the area. The capacity of organizations to adapt to climate change ranged widely based on economic, social, and organizational factors, as well as on the species and genetic diversity in the area. These organizations also developed adaptation projects using a structured adaptation process we developed. Adaptation actions selected in these locations tended to focus on increased biodiversity and restoration of natural disturbance regimes. However, adaptation actions in more developed sites also included incorporating new species or cultivars. Lessons learned from the Chicago framework are now being applied to other urban areas in the Midwest and Northeast.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 1:45pm - 2:00pm CDT
Spire Parlor