09 July 2012

Urban Forest

Definition: The patchwork quilt of forested spaces one finds in the midst of the built environment, stretching from the downtown core to the suburban periphery.

Examples: We typically associate trees and forests with rural locales, not urban areas. Yet cities in the United States are often heavily forested, with tree canopy covering, on average, more than a quarter of urban land.  Trees that grow along streets, as well as in parks, backyards, school playgrounds, vacant lots, cemeteries, and other urban “open spaces” make up the urban forest.  Sometimes the urban forest is comprised of little more than residual vegetation or “opportunistic volunteers.”  More often, however, trees are planted and maintained for a purpose, whether it is aesthetic, social, cultural, or ecological.

Increasingly, we value urban trees for the many and varied services they provide to urban dwellers.  In 2006, officials in Baltimore announced plans to double the city’s tree canopy in the next 30 years.

Trees can be found in abundance in urban as well as rural areas.  

Why Important: Among other things, trees provide shade, filter pollutants, store and sequester carbon dioxide, reduce summertime air temperatures, reduce runoff rates and flooding, impede erosion, improve storm sewer capacity, and provide habitat for plants and animals.

Contributed by BES Co-PI Geoffrey L. Buckley


  1. No matter how old you are, family history is important. While you might not think so at the time, as you get older there will be things you and your grandchildren will want to know. Most of us don't realise it until the older generations are gone and you can't replace first hand comments. Don't just put in about the good times, add in the harder times and how you overcame those trials. Another thing to remember is what caused the deaths of those you loved. There are many things that have been found to continue into future generations that knowing it runs in the family can be helped with now or possible in the future. prevention starts with knowing where to start. I wish someone had taken the time to write these things down for mew to be able to go back to. My Grandmother and my mother told us many stories of what things happened in their lives and about the people in their lives. I now wish someone had written those things down since both have passed now. But I never thought at that busy point in my life that I would one day want to remember all those things. So much family history is lost when the older generations are gone. Please pass it on to your family while you can. You can even just do it digitally so it can be accessed by family later on.Family pictures are something to cherish also. Just be sure to write down who is pictured in them, where they are taken and when. I have found family pictures that no one now even knows who is in them.


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