Assessing the Effects of MillionTreesNYC Urban Forest Restoration Effort

By P. Timon McPhearson, Michael Feller, Alexander Felson, Richard Karty,
Jacqueline W.T. Lu, Matthew I. Palmer, and Tim Wenskus
Los Angeles, CA (April 2007)- Working in collaboration with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation (NYC Parks) and the MillionTreesNYC tree planting campaign, we are examining different restoration strategies to assess how restoration practices affect the ecological development trajectories of newly established forests in NYC.

We suggest that increased information on the structure and functioning of the urban forest can be used to improve and augment support for urban forest management programs and to integrate urban forests within plans to improve environmental quality in the NYC area. Now in its third year, the city has already added over 300,000 young trees to existing urban parks, private lands, and city streets. But will planting trees result in the kinds of complex multi-story structures and ecological functioning desired of forests? How will various planting strategies affect these outcomes?
We define forest restoration here as the cumulative management activities of invasive plant removal, dense tree and shrub planting, and soil amendment as motivated and designed by NYC Parks in parks citywide. The goal of the research is to work towards understanding several of these key management questions through a multi-year study to provide baseline scientific data to inform park design and forest management. We will monitor survivorship and growth of individual trees and measure canopy density at the stand level, as well as assess the understory vegetation and changes to soils, both as they exist at the initiation of the restoration and as they develop over time.

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Assessing MillionTreesNYC Restoration Effort