urban (16)

American Grove was created to share tree planting and urban forestry knowledge and passion online. The core of our knowledge comes from you our members and state urban forestry coordinators that are professionals that work hard in their region to proliferate and take care of urban trees. State coordinators oversee the individual state groups that make up American Grove. Most of us are nature enthusiast and hands on, so to ask you to share online is probably against your grain. That said, online communities and social networking are often where understanding and opinions are formed and we appreciate your input. Online communities are a way to share knowledge and help educate. For us at American Grove, in the end it is about the trees. So if you have anything to share about your experience or knowledge with trees, post it on American Grove. We also like questions,if we don't know the answer, we will encourage a state urban forester from your state to get in touch. The best way to share is with a picture or some words in our blog or forum in your State's grove. Let us be your hub of tree information and leave it to us to put it out in the social network. Together lets make trees relevant not just in the ground but to the many people online that might not know as much about tress.

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Protecting Trees in New Urban Planning Areas

Clearing on South Cooper Mountain.  Photo (c) by Eric Squires 
To cut or not to cut, that is the questions.  Some property owners in the newly urbanizing area of South Cooper Mountainhave chosen to clear cut forests on their property in an attempt to avoid permits and fees when they develop their property in the future.  Navigating Beaverton's development code to find out what is required for tree protection is no easy task, so some of the clear-cutting could be motivated by fear of the unknown.

Stimulating wholesale clear-cutting of tree groves on Cooper Mountain is clearly an unintended consequence of  Beaverton's development code.  And Beaverton is not the only place where clearing to avoid perceived regulatory costs has happened.  When Metro was developing its regional Goal 5 Natural Resources Protection Plan, several landowners made the headlines by clearing their land unnecessarily to avoid what they feared was a government takeover.

Just across Scholls Ferry Road is the River Terrace planning area on the western slopes of  Bull Mountain. While trees were falling on Cooper Mountain, the City of Tigard has avoided clear-cutting by identifying significant tree groves. reaching out to property owners with significant groves and offering incentives including relaxation of some planning requirements.  Here are the key points of Tigard's effort.

  1. Property owners are not "punished" for having trees on their property.
    All residential property new development is required to be designed to achieve 40% tree canopy coverage no matter what is growing on the property now.
  2. Incentives are provided for protecting existing trees over cutting and planting new trees. When adding up the tree canopy on a site design, preservation of existing trees is given "double credit".  A property owner with existing forests on a parcel could achieve the 40% canopy requirement by preserving tree canopy covering 20% of the land.
  3. Flexibility in site design is allowed when tree groves are preserved.Housing density requirements are relaxed if a tree grove is protected to achieve canopy goals.  In River Terrace, home developers feel they can be more profitable by building upscale homes on larger lots, and tree grove protection facilitates this.  Similarly height restrictions for commercial developments are relaxed if tree groves are protected on the site.
The City of Tigard has received significant recognition for their innovate urban forestry plan, including a National Planning Excellence Award from the American Planning Association.  Their success in preventing clear cutting in River Terrace should gain the attention of other cities dealing with unintended consequences of tree protection regulation.

See also the Oregonian Article about Tigard's Urban Forestry Plan.

Originally published on Tualatin River Watershed Watch Blog.
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Great Green March 2014

Program Announcement--

CIEDM-ISERI 10th Annual Arbor/Earth Day Workshop - Great March for Climate Action

Organizers:  California Institute of Environmental Design & Management (CIEDM) & International Scholars & Entrepreneurs Research Institute (ISERI).  We are proudly to present our annual commitment to hold event for Arbor/Earth Days.


Background:  March 20 is the first day of Spring. In the ending of winter and beginning of spring season, March is always a special month to embrace the spring.  Kicking off by the Great March for Climate Action from Los Angeles to Washington DC, organized by fellow Climate Leaders and others, March is full of special awareness days reminding us as earth habitants to be environmental friendly. To celebrate and raise public awareness of those special environmental days, CIEDM & ISERI with its sustainability & educational missions will, as in the past, hold a free workshop on March 2nd. The environmental days in March are:


3.1-11.1       The Great March for Climate Action

3.3-9            Climate Week, National Invasive Species Awareness Week

3.7-14          California Arbor Week

3. 9-15         National Groundwater Awareness Week

3.17-23        National Wildlife Week, Fix a Leak Week

3.21             World Forestry Day/International Day of Forests

3.22             World Water Day

3.23             World Meteorological Day, Earth Hour at 8:30 pm


Objectives:  CIEDM & ISERI serve as a local partner and community campaigner to support the international, national & regional sponsors of those awareness events. The workshop aims to promote information sharing and public engagement in those events, and to expand the awareness to the general public through the workshop attendants. To meet our objectives, the event has been registered with Climate week, World Water Day, Tree-Nation, & & Earth Hour.


Date:  Sunday, 2 March 2014.


Place:   Arcadia EcoHome, a certified green building in Arcadia, with its yard being certified as wildlife habitat, pollinator habitat, & ocean friendly garden. Car pooling or taking public transit to the EcoHome is encouraged.


Attendants:  Seating capacity is limited. Per group invitation only; invitees include:

  • 20+ of Cerritos Tzu Chi & Tzu Ching; group contact: Sunny Wu
  • 3 of Chiba University, Japan; group contact: Dr. Shouni Tang
  • 5 of Chiu family; group contact: Minnie Lu

Time: 9 am-4:30 pm

9 am- Ground cleaning, tree transplanting & caring

1:50 pm- Public session opens

2 pm- Welcome remarks by Dongwei Xu, & self introduction by visiting group leads 

2:05 pm- Presentation on Green March & Earth Citizens by Dr. Edward Huang 黄铁屿,                                Dongwei Xu & Arial Chen

2:20 pm- Introduction to Arcadia EcoHome project by Caroline Huang

2:30 pm- Tour of Arcadia EcoHome (take off shoes as entering the building)

4:00 pm- Q & A session, concluding remarks by visiting group leads

4:10 pm- Group photo & social

4:30 pm- Adjourn


Contact:  ciedmeco@gamil.com

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Why Existing Healthy Urban Trees are so Valuable

Urban Trees are our oldest and hardest working residents. Existing healthy urban trees with a lifespan of more than 20 years are difficult to replace with replanting or tree banking. An existing tree is like a million dollars that has compounded in value over 100 years, while a fine or actually replanting is like one hundred dollars that has yet to compound. To replace one with the other is like saying 1 million dollars (actually $1.4 million using $100, compounding 100 years @ 10% interest) equals 100 dollars. Yes, it is important to invest in the future by replanting, but it is not the same as preserving an existing healthy tree. Does tree value really compound like money and interest? In a recent article published in The Dirt, J. Green states, "Humans’ growth spurts stop by late adolescence, but trees accelerate their growth and get bigger as they age." Moreover, the ecosystem created around the tree in the soil takes decades to develop. Trees require less roots in good soil than poor soil so you can have healthy trees in less space for when you do plant that tree. Trees are typically easily planted, especially for the enthusiast, but not all trees are planted and maintained equally. If the tree is being planted by a municipality you also have to worry about the management of the tree planting program, which can be expensive. The real kicker is the problem of land. Land to grow large trees with critical root zones that can take up to 6,000 square feet can be very expensive and scarce in an urban area. When such pressure exists on the land, it is difficult for large trees to have enough land to grow on. For these reasons, treasure the existing healthy urban tree, and do your utmost to convey its value before it is removed, for it will not be easily replaced.

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Below is a very fresh look at Urban Forestry.  At the bottom is a link to the full article.  I hope this elicits some comments, because their is certainly a lot to discuss!

By Richard Haag: FASLA, BCASLA, AIA, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington

City trees struggle to overcome shortage of space, sun, earth, water, air, and camaraderie. Couple these needs with substandard, negligent care to understand the decline of the urban tree canopy. Many cities divide the responsibility for the public trees between several departments (streets/engineering/sewers/gas/lights/parks/building, etc.). Each department has its own standards, agenda, competing operations and budgets.

Pro-tree forces armed with the "new math" to verify the actual value of trees in the city can demand legislation setting up "tree departments". Consider trees as another important infrastructure, equally as vital to the well-functioning city. City governments should be competing to search for the most qualified professional "Tree Chief" to join the other departmental heads on a separate yet equal basis. The tree czar/czarina’s ultimate goal is to maximize the real and "priceless" value of the tree capital of every city. By perceiving trees as a resource the Chief’s ultimate goal is to maximize the quantifiable and "priceless" value of tree capital.

The first objective is to inventory the existing trees. Technical advances in aerial imaging/global positioning is prerequisite to on-the-ground verification to estimate and protect the net worth to formulate budgets, schedules, strategies for maintenance, care and PLANTING.

The reader might challenge the terms Tree Department/Tree Chief. What is wrong with Urban Forester or Arborist? Both are commonly used, both (unwittingly?) insinuate removal trumps renewals.

Conversely, the American Phytopathological Society (APS) (founded 1908) trains specialists in scientific field diagnosis of tree and plant ailments, prevention and treatment of pathogens, soil analysis and amendment recommendations, determining structural integrity of trees by identifying infections caused by various wood decay pathogens...In short, pathologists profit from the well-being and longevity of the patient, rather than termination.

Internet research surprisingly continue to reveal the major "Tree Service" conglomerates allocate token resources to phytopathology, "farming-out" scientific analysis to qualified laboratories. Tree chiefs (and recalcitrant Landscape Architects) would be well served to consult



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The wildfire tragedy in Arizona took away the life of 19 firefighters on Sunday, June 30, the last Day of National Safety Month, is a shocking & hurting news and a deep grieve for all of us, and compels me as a member of American Grove and a urban forester to write about it before July 4th, the day often associates with fires and damages caused by fireworks. The 19 worriers protecting the communities are members of a specially trained outfit, an elite team of "Mountain Hotshots". Their deaths, most of them in the prime of their lives, marked the greatest loss of life from a U.S. wildland blaze in eight decades, since 25 men died battling the Los Angeles' Griffith Park fire of 1933. This deadliest U.S. wildfire tragedy is the nation's biggest loss of firefighters since 9/11. The fire reportly started after a lightning strike on Friday June 28 and spread to at least 2,000 acres on June 30. If it were an arson, in my opinion, the arsonist is a criminal. 
The fire was fused with, as usual in recent years, symptoms of climate change - triple-digit temperatures, low humidity, and windy conditions, and of course fed by dried vegetation caused by drought. As of today, July 3rd, nearly 600 firefighters are battling the mountain blaze, which had blackened about 13 square miles (35 sq. kilometers) and destroyed an estimated 50 to 200 structures, most of them homes, in and around Yarnell, a town of about 700 people. Yarnell and the adjacent community of Peeples Valley, which together are home to roughly 1,000 people, have been evacuated. With a 8% containment, the fire fighting command cautioned that plenty of dense, drought-parched scrub oak and chaparral was left unburned on the ground, providing ample fuel for creeping embers and hot spots to reignite. 
As this sad incident taken place at the very end of June, it should be noted that June is the Great Outdoors (GO) Month, a time when America celebrates its natural resources and treasures such as forests, parks, refuges, and other public lands and waters, and the time to go outdoors to enjoy and protect the nature. June also is the National Safety Month. We at CIEDM supported and participated in both awareness events, held workshops in Arcadia EcoHome on urban forest & toured the home grove, visited Angeles National Forest & met US Forest Services officers, and called for public attentions to the issues such as wildfires. At the eve of July 4, we also want to remind the public that wildfires, mainly caused by human outdoor activities, have become more frequent in recent years all over the world due to longer dry weather resulted from climate change. While we celebrate and enjoy the national holiday especially with fireworks, we also need to be alert with the weather conditions and prevent fire hazards. Let us have a Fire Independence Day tomorrow.

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American Forests, with grant support from the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, developed the Urban Forest Assessments Resource Guide to provide a framework for practitioners interested in doing urban forest ecosystem assessments. This guide is divided into three main sections designed to walk you through the process of selecting the best urban forest assessment tool for your needs and project. In this guide, you will find the following sections:

  • Urban Forest Management – explains urban forest management and the tools used for effective management
  • How to Choose an Urban Forest Assessment Tool – details the series of questions you need to answer before selecting a tool
  • Urban Forest Ecosystem Assessment Tools – offers descriptions and usage tips for the most common and popular assessment tools available

Over the years, a variety of assessment tools have been developed to help us better understand the benefits that urban forests provide and to quantify them into measurable metrics. The results they provide are extremely useful in helping to improve urban forest policies on all levels, inform planning and management, track environmental changes over time, and determine how trees affect the environment, which consequently enhances human health.

Trees in cities, a main component of a city’s urban forest, contribute significantly to human health and environmental quality. Urban forest ecosystem assessments are a key tool to help quantify the benefits that trees and urban forests provide, advancing our understanding of these valuable resources. That’s why American Forests is providing a step-by-step guide to urban forest assessments with a list of available tools and technologies.

For more information on American Forests’ urban assessments resource guide and other urban forest work, please visit www.americanforests.org/urbanresourceguide.

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Garden Club of America

The Garden Club of America is offering national urban forestry fellowships, made possible through the generous donations of its Zone VI members, national membership, and Casey Trees. The Garden Club of America, which has a history of interest in the health of the urban forest, supports young scientists in their undergraduate and graduate studies in this field.

The study areas of interest are far reaching, including urban forest management and planning as well as topics in biology, ecology, or human health that will specifically move urban forest science forward.

Multiple fellowships in the amount of $4,000 each will be awarded to graduate or advanced undergraduate students studying urban forestry, environmental studies, horticulture, forestry, or a closely related field at any four-year college or university degree program in the United States. Applicants must be U.S. students who will be enrolled as juniors, seniors, or graduate students during the fellowship period (2013-2014). Fellowship recipients may apply for one additional year of funding.


Trees Virginia

The Virginia Urban Forest Council, known as Trees Virginia, is offering scholarships to enhance the ranks of future urban forestry professionals by providing financial assistance to students studying urban forestry and related curricula at Virginia colleges. Trees Virginia has awarded over $28,000 in scholarships since 2008.

Three scholarships totaling $4,000 will be awarded to applicants who best demonstrate financial need, academic excellence, and a clear commitment to a career that will positively impact urban forests in Virginia and beyond, distributed as follows:

  • One $1,800 scholarship for a graduate student enrolled at a Virginia four-year college;
  • One $1,400 scholarship for an undergraduate student enrolled at a Virginia four-year college; and
  • One $800 scholarship for an undergraduate student enrolled at a Virginia community college.

Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee appointed by the board of directors of Trees Virginia.

For application forms, eligibility requirements, and instructions, visit the Virginia Urban Forest Council Scholarships in Urban Forestry website. The application deadline is Dec. 21, 2012.

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Last week I blogged about "Volunteer Trees And Fulfilling Dreams."  Thanks to Tree Climber's International's recent FB post, "Natural Regeneration Building Urban Forests, Altering Species Composition", I learned that as little as 1 in 20 urban trees are planted and that the official term for volunteer tree is natural regeneration.  Regardless, I have posted a portion of this article below with a full link to it below.  Photo on right by American Grove Member, Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School.

Science Daily (Aug. 21, 2012) — In forested regions of the nation, natural regeneration may help cities achieve tree cover goals at the expense of maintaining the desired tree species.

A study by U.S. Forest Service scientists published recently in Urban Forestry and Urban Greening showed that on average, 1 in 3 trees in sampled cities were planted while two-thirds resulted from natural regeneration. However, for newly established, young trees in cities in forested regions, only about 1 in 12 trees (Syracuse, N.Y.) to 1 in 20 trees (Baltimore) were planted. The lower proportion of naturally regenerated trees in the entire city tree population may be because naturally regenerated trees have a higher mortality rate than planted trees, according to Dave Nowak, a research forester with the Forest Service's Northern Research Station and the study's principal investigator. Naturally regenerated trees typically have more competition for the water, light and nutrients that are needed for survival.

Full Article

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Photo Contest of your Urban and Community Forest

The U.S. Forest Service challenges you to get outdoors and take photos of your urban or community forest. You could win $200 in outdoor gear from the National Forest Foundation!


About the Challenge
America is home to more than 100 million acres of urban and community forests. These are the forests that line our streets, shade our buildings and burst with color every fall. Did you know that these trees also clean our air and help prevent pollution and flooding? That's one of the reasons we like to call our urban trees 'the hardest working trees in America.' Take a picture of your neighborhood forest and send it to us. You'll have fun outside, and could win cool prizes for your photo!


Urban and community forests broadly include urban parks, street trees, landscaped boulevards, public gardens, river and coastal promenades, greenways, river corridors, wetlands, nature preserves, natural areas, shelter belts of trees and working trees at industrial brownfield sites. Don't forget to tell your friends and family to vote for your submission - there will be one Popular Choice prize winner.


The U.S. Forest Service is active in more than 7,000 communities across America, working to keep our urban forests healthy.


Founded by Congress in 1991, the National Forest Foundation works to conserve, restore and enhance America’s 193-million-acre National Forest System in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.


For contest rules, visit: http://urbanforest.challenge.gov/.

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 NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s urban forests, currently valued at about $80 billion, also provide almost  $650 million in benefits such as carbon storage, pollution removal, and energy reduction according to a new U.S. Forest Service report.

The authors of Urban Forests of Tennessee, 2009 found there are 284 million trees in urban areas in the state, with canopies covering 33.7 percent of 1.6 million acres of urban area. Those urban forests provide an estimated $204 million per year in pollution removal and $66 million per year in energy savings. The study is the first of its kind in Tennessee.


“This report, for the first time, puts a face on the urban forest resource and what it means to the state in terms of economic and environmental value, ” said Steven Scott, Tennessee State Forester and head of the Tennessee Division of Forestry, which collected the data for the report. “Perhaps the most significant finding is the immediate impact of urban trees on the use of energy, the savings we get as a result of shade near homes, businesses and industrial areas.”


David Nowak, Northern Research Station project leader and research forester, led the pilot study, which sampled trees in all the state’s urban area and analyzed their value using a model developed by the Forest Service.


“Urban forests make our cities healthier, more vibrant places to live,” said Nowak. “They provide healthy outdoor spaces for our kids, they clean our air and water, and – as this study shows – they provide tremendous economic benefits. We must continue our work to protect these critical natural resources.”

There are more than 100 million acres of urban forest across the U.S., but a recent study shows that many are in decline.

The Tennessee report includes an extensive assessment of urban forest health, providing information about present damage and potential risks. In addition to nonnative invasive plants, Tennessee urban forests face risks from exotic pests that include the recently discovered thousand cankers disease, which impacts black walnut; hemlock woolly adelgid, which kills eastern and Carolina hemlocks; the Asian longhorned beetle, which kills a wide range of hardwood species; and the emerald ash borer, which decimates ash trees. This last insect was recently documented in East Tennessee.

The Forest Service Inventory and Analysis and Community Forestry Programs partnered with Tennessee Division of Forestry and researchers from the Forest Service Northern Research Station and SRS on the project.

To access the full report in PDF format: http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/40246

To request this publication by mail, send your name and complete mailing address, with report title, author, and publication number (GTR-SRS-149) to: pubrequest@fs.fed.us


 Headquartered in Asheville, N.C., the Southern Research Station is comprised of more than 120 scientists and several hundred support staff who conduct natural resource research in 20 locations across 13 southern states (Virginia to Texas). The Station’s mission is “…to create the science and technology needed to sustain and enhance southern forest ecosystems and the benefits they provide.” Learn more about the Southern Research Station at: http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/.



Zoë Hoyle


USDA Forest Service

Southern Research Station

Follow SRS onTwitter: @usfs_srs

CompassLive: http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/compass/


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The Alliance for Community Trees, a national nonprofit, just announced a new grant program in support of urban orchards, fruit and nut tree planting, and other urban forestry activities which enhance community gardening and local food security. A webcast for interested applicants will be held on December 15th; grant deadline is January 31, 2012. 

The fruit and nut tree program is a partnership with the USDA People's Garden Program. U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan recently announced 10 grants to support 155 People's Gardens in neighborhoods from Maryland to Hawaii. These sustainable community gardens will give residents direct access to fresh fruits and vegetables in underserved neighborhoods. 

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Urban Forestry & Sustainable Sites Initiative

The Sustainable Sites Initiative (a.k.a SITES) addresses green building from a land perspective and incorporates incentives to retain and plant trees. The Sustainable Sites Initiative's Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks are modeled after the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System™ (LEED®).  It has been compiled by The American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas United States Botanic Garden.  

The benefits of trees and their preservation and planting are well address in the guidelines.   The guidelines are an important step in encouraging healthy urban forests during construction.  To view the guidelines first hand go to the following:  Sustainable Sites Initiative. 2009.  The Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009. Available at http://www.sustainablesites.org/report.  Please comment below with your take on these standards.  

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Autumn Unfolds, With Birdsong and Crackling Leaves

From New York Times


Recently, there were a string of days that felt stolen from summer. Tuesday, the day of my site visit, was the last of these. The warm sun flooded the woods of Inwood Hill Park with light, creating long shadows that foreshortened the scene. Harshly lit patches straddled pockets of deep shade.

Autumn Unfolds

Tracking fall’s progress in a patch of forest in Inwood Hill Park.

There was a high, sweet song above the ever-present din of bluejays, gray catbirds and house sparrows. A bird’s back blends into bark of a tree as it walks straight upward, defying gravity: the palm-sized Northern parula sails through leafy branches, yellow throat and white underbelly melding into the bright light above.

In our urban setting, quiet is elusive and fleeting. And yet, I hear black birch leaves breaking off branches and rasping as they land on the rocks below. Farther afield, successive rolls of gentle drumming are audible; is it a woodpecker?

Read Full Article

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Wildland-Urban Interface: Key Issues

Taxation, land use, and fire are just a few of the key issues impacted by changes to the wildland-urban interface.  Read more in this interesting study produced by Interface South of the Centers for Urban and Interface
Forestry, Southern Research Station, U.S. Forest Service and the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).

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There are over 1,300 Indiana Community Tree Stewards in Indiana who are advocating the benefits of the urban forest and sharing their urban forest knowledge and skills with others.


Join us by attending a two day workshop July 16th and July 23rd at Fort Harrison State Park.  Email plouks@dnr.IN.gov to register. 


Sponsored by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Community and Urban Forestry program.


This workshop is co- sponsored by the Indiana Urban Forest Council www.iufc.org  and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, www.kibi.org


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