Biodiversity Symposium

February 13, 2014
Washington, DC

In partnership with the Smithsonian National Zoological Park and Pogo Tree Experts, Casey Trees is hosting a Biodiversity Symposium where four experts in the field will discuss topics related to biodiversity and our urban forests while stressing the importance of diverse urban canopies at multiple scales in the face of challenges including climate change and invasive plants and pests.

The Double Lives of Pollinators: Their Roles in Maintaining Biodiversity in Urban Forests

Michael Raupp, PhD, Professor of Entomology and Extension Specialist at The University of Maryland will examine the fascinating relationships between flowering plants and their insect pollinators. Unique adaptations between plants and insects will be explored and mysteries of plants as master manipulators of insects will be revealed.

Chicago’s Urban Forest: Current Status and Future Challenges

Andrew Bell, PhD, Curator of Woody Plants at the Chicago Botanic Garden, will provide an overview of the current status of Chicago’s urban forest from diversity to health, and highlight current efforts to protect and expand this indispensable natural resource. Results from recent studies will be discussed including an assessment of genetic diversity within three commonly planted street trees in the region and an ongoing investigation of the potential effects of climate change on Chicago’s urban forest by mid and late century.

Genetic Improvement of Landscape Trees for Disease and Pest Tolerance, Non-Invasiveness, and Ornamental Traits

Richard Olsen, PhD, Research Geneticist for the United States National Arboretum, will discuss how the Arboretum’s urban tree breeding program takes a systematic approach to developing new tree cultivars for the nursery industry and urban forest, beginning with the identification and establishment of novel germplasm as breeding stock. These new species must be evaluated and bred for tolerance to existing abiotic and biotic stresses as well as introduced pathogens and pests in order to maintain and enhance genetic diversity in urban forests.

Your Role in Building Biological Corridors: Networks for Life

Doug Tallamy, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Entomology and Wildlife Ecology department at University of Delaware, will discuss how we can reconnect viable habitats by expanding existing greenways, building riparian corridors, and by changing the landscaping paradigm that dominates our yards and corporate landscapes. This biodiversity is essential to sustaining human societies because it is other living things that run our ecosystems and isolated habitats cannot support populations large enough to survive normal environmental stresses.

Learn more and register.