Title

Evaluating Growth and Survivorship of Afforestation Plots in NYC, and Potential Impacts of Climate Change

Date

12-8-2020 10:50 AM

Abstract

As we experience gradual changes in climate patterns, it is important to understand how city forests will respond to New York's changing urban environments. Major cities around the globe are expected to undergo extreme transformations of temperature and precipitation. NYC in this same manner is expected to see patterns of higher precipitation, hotter climate, and rising sea levels. To mitigate this, NYC is one of many cities in the United States that has turned to green based solutions such as urban forests to aid infrastructure and create sustainable urban environments. However, climate change could prove impactful to the many native tree species that live within these urbanized areas. Studies have suggested that there is a concern within sustaining urban forests, as there are trending losses of city canopy cover over major cities, including NYC. As well as predictions for rising temperatures that may prove stressful for native urban forest populations. This study focuses on the analysis of tree survivorship and growth of afforestation plots planted by the Million Trees Initiative in NYC. With the purpose of exploring potential impacts that climate change may have on urban tree populations. This was done by examining selected niches of tolerance to waterlogging and heat, and cross examining that with species survivorship and growth on a case by case basis. Findings suggest that there is no certainty that heat, and waterlogging tolerance are traits that can determine survivorship and growth within this afforestation community. Furthermore, species that are waterlog tolerant marginally outperform nontolerant species in growth, but it is uncertain if this is due to their tolerance. Moving forward, more research must be conducted on other tree traits i.e. drought tolerance, to determine which niches in trees may prove most beneficial in light of climate change. By doing so, we may have a better understanding of what species will be most successful in changing urban environments, and therefore beneficial for urban forests.

Biographies

Sara Herrejon Chavez
Major: Environmental Studies

Sara Herrejon Chavez is majoring in Environmental studies and minoring in Biology and Sustainability. As a freshman, she began involvement in extracurricular lab experiences, and has been involved with research ever since. In her time as an undergrad she has worked in a joint lab between Dr. Sarah Eppley and Dr. Todd Rosenstiel, solidifying essential data collection skills. As well as under Dr. Daniel Ballhorn, conducting independent research on microbial red alder nodule communities. She is currently working under Dr. Todd Rosenstiel, investigating stress factors on urban forestry. Sara has made many academic connections through her involvement within the STEM community. She is an alumna of the Build EXITO program as well as a current mentor for the program. She is also an active LSAMP scholar, as well as McNair scholar. Sara has spent the last few summers immersed in different experiences. From serving as a mentor at the primate research center through the On-Track program, to conducting independent research at the CCAR REU at Portland State. After graduation, Sara plans to apply for graduate school programs centered around her interests in plant biology as well as environmental and human health.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Todd Rosenstiel
An internationally recognized plant biologist, Dr. Todd Rosenstiel's research primarily focuses on the interactions between trees, atmospheric chemistry, human health, and climate change. In addition, his laboratory research group examines the ecology and physiology of plants that live in extreme environments, including the fundamental role of mosses in shaping the future of a warming Antarctica. Throughout his career, he has been a strong advocate for building collaborative multidisciplinary research teams and advancing opportunities for involving undergraduates in impactful research at PSU. Rosenstiel received his B.S. in biology from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, and his Ph.D. in ecology and evolution from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Before joining PSU, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Disciplines

Environmental Sciences

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/33532

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Aug 12th, 10:50 AM

Evaluating Growth and Survivorship of Afforestation Plots in NYC, and Potential Impacts of Climate Change

As we experience gradual changes in climate patterns, it is important to understand how city forests will respond to New York's changing urban environments. Major cities around the globe are expected to undergo extreme transformations of temperature and precipitation. NYC in this same manner is expected to see patterns of higher precipitation, hotter climate, and rising sea levels. To mitigate this, NYC is one of many cities in the United States that has turned to green based solutions such as urban forests to aid infrastructure and create sustainable urban environments. However, climate change could prove impactful to the many native tree species that live within these urbanized areas. Studies have suggested that there is a concern within sustaining urban forests, as there are trending losses of city canopy cover over major cities, including NYC. As well as predictions for rising temperatures that may prove stressful for native urban forest populations. This study focuses on the analysis of tree survivorship and growth of afforestation plots planted by the Million Trees Initiative in NYC. With the purpose of exploring potential impacts that climate change may have on urban tree populations. This was done by examining selected niches of tolerance to waterlogging and heat, and cross examining that with species survivorship and growth on a case by case basis. Findings suggest that there is no certainty that heat, and waterlogging tolerance are traits that can determine survivorship and growth within this afforestation community. Furthermore, species that are waterlog tolerant marginally outperform nontolerant species in growth, but it is uncertain if this is due to their tolerance. Moving forward, more research must be conducted on other tree traits i.e. drought tolerance, to determine which niches in trees may prove most beneficial in light of climate change. By doing so, we may have a better understanding of what species will be most successful in changing urban environments, and therefore beneficial for urban forests.