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 

UrbanCrowns and ForestCrowns

Yesterday’s article covered a method of estimating the stormwater function of urban trees using forest canopy measures. Just how does a manager or other practitioner calculate the extent of a tree crown or a forest stand canopy? U.S. Forest Service scientists from the Southern Research Station Utilization of Southern Forest Resources unit have developed software tools…  More 

Using Urban Forests to Manage Stormwater Runoff

We’ve read a lot lately about the innumerable human health benefits provided by urban trees and forests. Urban forest systems can also function as part of a city’s stormwater control system by intercepting rainfall and regulating the flow of water to and through the soil. Forests efficiently store stormwater, return water to the atmosphere, and filter…  More 

Ride, Drive, or Walk? The Decision is Not So Simple for Some

In the U.S., about a third of all greenhouse gas emissions are related to travel. Many of these trips are short – perhaps a 10 minute drive to work, or a 15 minute trek to the grocery store. Using public transit, walking, or biking to these destinations could help limit carbon dioxide emissions. However, there…  More 

Can Urban Forest Settings Influence How Well Children with Autism Manage?

In late July, USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the four recipients of the 2016 USDA Forest Service’s National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge grants. One of the four, the winning proposal from Georgia State University (GSU), investigates the impact of natural environments such as urban and community forests on symptom expression in children with…  More 

A Different Twist on City Green Spaces and Health

Although the benefits of urban forests, gardens, parks, and other green spaces have been documented, the nuances of this relationship continue to be explored. For example, the role of green spaces in the social aspects of public health are often overlooked. My colleagues Lincoln Larson  (Clemson University), Jessica Yun (Georgetown University) and I recently explored…  More