Invasive Plants Follow Land Abandonment after Hurricane Katrina

The lot is overgrown, crowded with unruly shrubs, vines, and waist-high weeds. It is littered with old tires and garbage and is now home to a rusted Toyota Tercel. The air is heavy and buzzing with mosquitoes. This is the Lower 9th Ward, where U.S. Forest Service research forester Wayne Zipperer studied the vegetation on…  More 

Green Space, Human Health, and Social Justice

Urban green spaces like parks, urban forests, and greenways are often not equally available to everyone. “My research focuses on the nexus between urban nature, social justice, and health as it relates to factors such as income, race, and socioeconomic status,” says U.S. Forest service biological scientist Viniece Jennings. Existing research has described the benefits…  More 

Urban Forests & Stormwater Management

Raindrops that land on trees may never hit the ground. “Trees intercept a significant amount of rain,” says U.S. Forest Service science delivery specialist Eric Kuehler. Once intercepted by a leaf or branch, some rain evaporates. Some trickles down the tree’s stem and seeps into the soil. “Soil is the best place to store water,”…  More 

Urban Forest Strike Teams Support Storm Recovery

Thousands of federal, state, and private agencies have been deployed to areas that were impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate. These first responders are there to help the people in the storm’s path. However, there is another group of responders that go into storm-ravaged towns to aid the trees: the Urban Forest Strike Teams (UFST).…  More 

After the Hurricane: Dealing with Damaged Trees

Hurricanes bring winds that can exceed 125 miles per hour, heavy rain, and flooding — any or all of which can damage trees. Some damage can be seen immediately, while some damage may not become apparent for years after a hurricane. On the other hand, what may initially seem like mortal damage — all the…  More 

City Trees in Houston

The largest city in the largest continental state in America has an urban forest to match. And now, for the first time, information about Houston’s trees is available online. The My City’s Trees web application is a free tool that makes community tree data easily accessible to the public. The Texas A&M Forest Service has…  More 

Houston’s Urban Forests

Urban forests offer a wide range of environmental services, such as stormwater management, air pollution mitigation, reduced air temperatures (Urban Heat Island mitigation), wildlife habitat, aesthetic appeal and visual barriers. Since 1930, the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program has provided information on the amount, status, and character of forest land across…  More 

Urban Forests & West Nile Virus

Since 1999, West Nile virus has spread throughout the U.S., frequently sickening and occasionally killing people. The virus has killed at least one person in every state in the conterminous U.S. “There are many risk factors for infection with West Nile virus,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Wayne Zipperer. “However, risk factors are complicated…  More 

My City’s Trees

The Texas A&M Forest Service has developed a web-based application, My City’s Trees, designed to give the public easy access to information from the urban forest inventories conducted by the U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program. The application, hosted at the Texas Forest Info website, currently shows results from FIA’s first urban…  More 

Selecting Trees to Grow in Cities

Sometimes in the cramped environs of U.S. cities every inch counts, especially if attempting to make space for nature. City planners and urban foresters now have a resource to more precisely select tree species whose growth will be a landscaping dream instead of a maintenance nightmare. The U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station recently…  More