by LA Roman
Scenario Journal. Scenario 04:1-82014
Despite large tree planting campaigns in major cities across the United States, there has been a considerable decline in tree canopy cover in the years following these initiatives. Rudimentary evaluation has revealed that this decline has not been offset by natural regeneration or tree planting. In order to monitor the success of urban tree planting programs accurately, modification of current models used for urban forest assessments is necessary. This paper assesses urban forestry programs in multiple cities and proposes the utilization of demographic analysis for long-term monitoring. The author suggests that mortality trend data must be examined in order to develop realistic long-term projections about population levels, canopy cover, and ecosystem services, rather than the default reliance on records for number of trees planted. The author also recommends that emphasis be placed on how many trees need to be planted each year to achieve sufficient levels of canopy cover. By employing appropriate analytical frameworks and prioritizing focus on tree survivorship in future research, urban forest planners, researchers, and policy-makers can gain insight into how to recoup the greatest benefits from urban tree planting programs.