by EG McPherson, AM Berry, NS van Doorn
Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 29:28-392018
As climate change continues to pose a threat to urban forests across the globe, there is an increasing need to select and integrate hardy tree species into urban tree stocks in order to reduce forest vulnerability. This paper analyzes the impact of site conditions, climate, and management practices on the long-term resilience of varying tree species and cultivars. To ensure successful tree establishment and to combat climate change stressors, modification of current urban forest planting practices is necessary. By utilizing climatic response variables and vulnerability criteria, the authors developed a five-step process to identify and assess the physiological tolerances of promising tree species. The results suggest that selecting highly adaptive, climate-ready species, even when not locally grown or available, is a simple solution that can be easily applied in urban environments and a beneficial option that offers an economic advantage. In addition, climate-ready trees can mitigate the effects of climate change, enhance environmental quality, and improve human health. With more intensive monitoring and additional research conducted to measure tree species’ physiological plasticity, native habitats, and pest vulnerability, it may be possible to substantially increase the health and resilience of urban forests.