Page 20

Chapter 1: Introduction

BENEFITS OF THE URBAN FOREST Today, urban forests are increasingly considered an element of a much larger green infrastructure (GI) network (Benepe, 2013, ImagineAustin, 2012; Young, 2011; American Planning Association, 2009). Within this network, the urban forest plays an integral role in Austin’s health and vitality by providing social, ecological, and economic benefits to the community and by enhancing the quality of life for Austin residents. The following are a few benefits commonly provided by trees: Figure 1.2 |Tree Benefits Environmental ‡ Air pollution removal ‡ Noise pollution reduction ‡ Water quality enhancement ‡ Carbon sequestration ‡ Rainfall/stormwater interception ‡ Flood mitigation

Frequently Cited Sources Nowak et al. 2006; Nowak 2002; Akbari et al. 2001 Nowak et al. 2006; Nowak 2002; Akbari et al. 2001 Cappiella et al. 2005 Nowak et al. 2002 Nowak et al. 2007; Raciti et al. 2006; Beattie et al. 2000 Cappiella et al. 2005

‡ Urban heat island mitigation

Streiling & Matzarakis 2003; Akbari et al. 2001; Rosenfeld et al. 1998

‡ Shading/reducing energy usage ‡ Controlled stream channel erosion ‡ Habitat provided for wildlife

Donovan & Butry, 2009; Akbari et al. 2001 Raciti et al. 2006; Cappiella et al. 2005 Rudd et al. 2002; Fernandez-Juricic, 2000

Social ‡ Crime reduction ‡ Traffic calming

White et al. 2011; Donovan & Prestemon, 2010

‡ Increased public health

Bell et al. 2008; Mitchell & Popham, 2008; Lovasi et al. 2008; Ulrich 1984

Economic ‡ Increased property values ‡ Improved retail business

Donovan & Butry, 2010; Crownover, 1991

‡ Enhanced rental rates

Donovan & Butry, 2011; Laverne & Winson-Geideman, 2003

‡ Infrastructure cost savings

McPherson, 2006

Naderi, 2008; Wolf & Bratton, 2006

Werner et al. 2001; Wolf, 2004

Despite these benefits, Austin’s urban forest faces many challenges. Accelerated land development, harsh environments brought on by climate change, recent periods of drought, increased public use, and public safety related to an aging tree population are but a few concerns associated with Austin’s urban forest. In addition, trees do not naturally propagate themselves in a highly urbanized area, like they do in natural ecosystems, which means the urban forest will not replenish itself as successfully without deliberate human intervention.

7

Case Study | Urban Heat Island Mitigation Temperatures get hotter in the city than in rural areas because highways, buildings, parking lots, and other manmade surfaces absorb and retain far more heat than materials in the natural environment. Shade trees that shelter homes and other structures are a great way to mitigate effects of urban heat. Trees help reduce energy use and utility costs as well as protect homes from sun damage and deterioration. Top 5 Threats to the Urban Forest 1. Development 2. Drought 3. Climate change 4. Soil compaction 5. Invasive species Source: City of Austin, Urban Forestry Program, 2012

Profile for Austin Urban Forestry Program

Austin's Urban Forest Plan: A Master Plan for Public Property  

Today, urban forests are increasingly considered an element of a much larger green infrastructure network. Within this network, the urban fo...

Austin's Urban Forest Plan: A Master Plan for Public Property  

Today, urban forests are increasingly considered an element of a much larger green infrastructure network. Within this network, the urban fo...

Advertisement