Title: Florida's urban and urbanizing forests
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00091330/00001
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Title: Florida's urban and urbanizing forests
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publisher: School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00091330
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Florida's Urban and Urbanizing Forests

Urban and Urbanizing Forests is an Extension Program of the School of Forest
Resources and Conservation, IFAS/UF

Urban and Urbanizing Forests Program

By Dr. Francisco Escobedo and enniferA. Seitz
UF-School of Forest Resources and Conservation

Florida boasts incredible
diversity, both in terms of its
natural ecosystems and people.
There are over 16 million acres of
forestland and a population of 18
million people from diverse
backgrounds and cultures. Florida is
experiencing tremendous growth
due to an influx of nearly 1,000
people into the state every day. This
has resulted in a loss of 40,000 acres
of forest per year and noticeable
tree cover loss in communities due
to development, hurricanes, and
other factors. As urban areas and
communities expand, homes and
forests or other natural areas
intermingle. These areas present a
series of issues and challenges for
natural resource and environmental
professionals, policy makers, and
The School of Forest Resources
and Conservation at the
University of Florida created the
Urban and Urbanizing Forests
Program to address these issues and
to understand forest ecosystems in
and around urban areas and their
multiple functions. Through this
newsletter our program will share
information and resources that will
better enable urban foresters,
planners, managers, tree boards,
extension agents, and natural
resource professionals to have the

information necessary to make
informed decisions on management,
science, education, and outreach
regarding ecosystems in urban and
urbanizing areas. The program has a
three-pronged approach:
* Research- Understand urban and
urbanizing forests and ecosystems
and their management
* Teaching- Educate students on the
scientific aspects of urban forestry
and to develop problem solving
skills to address management
* Extension- Develop educational
materials, resources, and programs
for decision-makers, landowners,
land managers, and citizens.

Work on all three elements occurs on
the main university campus in
Gainesville and at the Gulf Coast
Research and Education Center
(GCREC)-Plant City Campus. We
partner with the Florida Division of


In this issue:

The Tampa Bay
Watershed Forest
Working Group

Science Corner

Urban Forest
Management Plans

Continue on page 6

Student Spotlight 5

The Tampa Bay Watershed-Forest Working Group

By Dr. Michael G. Andreu and Melissa H. Friedman
UF School of Forest Resources and Conservation
GCREC Plant City Campus

Forests of Florida are rapidly
changing due to an increase in
population. This is evident in the area
around Tampa and along the I-4 cor-
ridor. The result is that forests are
changing in species composition, ex-
tent (where it is located), structure,
and perhaps most importantly func-
tion (e.g., ability to provide habitat or
affect water quality). While we under-
stand this is occurring throughout the
state it has notbeen well documented
or quantified. If we are to truly under-
stand the implications of these
changes they must be studied and to
do this we must establish a baseline
to measure this change. This is a chal-
lenge due to the large geographic area
in question as urbanizing forests are
on public and private lands and cross
many jurisdictional boundaries, in-
cluding city, county, state, and federal

To begin to deal with this, the Tampa
Bay Watershed-Forest Working
Group (TBW-FWG) was formed by
Rob Northrop and Dr. Michael G.
Andreu. It is a consortium of inter-
ested parties including the City of
Tampa, Hillsborough County Exten-
sion Service, Southwest Florida
Water Management District, Flor-

ida Division of Forestry, University
of Florida, University of South Flor-
ida, USDA Forest Service Center for
Urban and Interface Forestry, and
other municipal governments. One of
the first steps this group took to-
wards dealing with the complexity of
this problem was to hold a sympo-
sium on urban forest inventory soft-
ware systems. This symposium
brought together eight software sys-
tem developers and providers to
demonstrate their products and ex-
plain how they are used to aid their
clients with urban forest manage-
ment. A 2 DVD 1 CD set of this sym-
posium is available and can be or-
dered by contacting Melissa H.
Friedman at melimel@ufl.edu.

Currently, the TBW-FWG is conduct-
ing an inventory of the urban and
urbanizing forests within the city of
Tampa and the surrounding sub-
basin watersheds. This project is
funded through a grant from the City
of Tampa and is being carried outby
the University of Florida in partner-
ship with the University of South
Florida and Hillsborough County
Extension Service. The goal of this
study is to establish a baseline of in-
formation about the composition,

in a UFORE

structure, condition, function, and
extent of the forest in the face of rapid
urbanization. To achieve this goal,
over 500 permanent plots were ran-
domly selected and installed across
the city and surrounding areas where
measurements of the urban and ur-
banizing forest can be repeated in the
future. Of these, approximately 225
plots have been measured within the
city of Tampa and an additional 300
plots are being established and meas-
ured in the city's surrounding water-
sheds using protocols established by
the USDA Forest Service. The analy-
sis of the data collected will include
the use of the Forest Service's Urban
Forest Effects model (UFORE),
which will provide quantitative val-
ues for variables such as air quality,
carbon storage and sequestration,
and the effect of tree shade on build-
ing energy use. The results of this
project will not only provide city
management and planning agencies
with a resource for future decision
making but has also sparked interest
for aligned research in the social val-
ues of urban forests, calculations of
post-hurricane debris estimates for
FEMA, estimation ofbiomass yields
from the urban forest for biofuel pro-
duction, and soil and water quality
across the urban to rural continuum.
We look forward to sharing some of
what we have learned about these
forests in future editions of this news-

Looking ahead, TBW-FWG is planning
a meeting this Spring to bring to-
gether scientists and managers in an
effort to define a research agenda for
the region. For more information
about this event contact Rob
Northrop at (813) 744-5519 x 106.

What is the Urban Forest?

By Dr. Wayne C. Zipperer, Research Scientist
USDA Forest Service

Science Corer

W welcome to Science Corner.
Welcome to the Science Cor-
ner, a column that will provide cur-
rent information on trends related to
the ecological aspects of urban forest
management. This column has two
purposes: 1) to link science to urban
forest management and 2) to encour-
age dialog between managers and

In this first column I want to discuss
what is an urban forest and discuss
how it is linked to ecosystem ser-
vices. Although this topic may seem
trivial, it is critical to define the area
we will manage and how this area is
linked to services. So, what is the
urban forest? In Europe, for example,
urban forests are forested stands,
either remnant or afforested
(emergent), in urban areas.

In the United States, the definition of
the urban forest can vary. For some,
the urban forest consists of vegeta-
tion on public lands that is managed
by the municipality, such as street
trees and trees in parks and publicly
managed recreational areas. For
others, the urban forest represents all
the trees, on both public and private

lands, in a municipality. Still others
define the urban forest as all the vege-
tation in the city, from the trees to the
shrubs and herbaceous plants.

By now, you are probably thinking,
"Yeah-right! I am going to manage
some one's garden." So, which defini-
tion is correct? As you might expect, it
depends on the city's management
objectives. If the objective is to pro-
vide aesthetically pleasing streets and
parks, the narrower definition may
work just fine. If the objective is to
provide ecosystem services, such as
filtering air pollutants, increasing rain
water interception, or decreasing
noise levels, a broader perspective is

When managing for ecosystem
services, it is important to remember
that they are derived from ecosystem
functions, which include processes
such as nutrient cycling (nitrogen
movement), carbon cycling (carbon
sequestration), growth and productiv-
ity (wildlife habitat, air pollution re-
moval, carbon sequestration, noise
reduction), and water movement
(interception, ground water recharge).
These processes are not confined by
political boundaries (they are, how-
ever, influenced by those boundaries),
but are influenced by vegetation struc-
ture (trees, shrubs, and herbaceous
plants) on both public and private
lands. Hence, managers influence
ecosystem functions by manipulating
vegetation structure and the biophysi-
cal environment. So, an urban
forester must consider all the vegeta-
tion, public and private, in the city if
they are managing the urban forest for
ecosystem services.

Obviously, an urban forester can not
tell a private citizen how to manage
his/her vegetation. The urban for-
ester, however, can influence private
landowner's behavior through educa-
tional efforts, thus meeting and sus-
taining urban forestry objectives.

"Hence, managers
influence ecosystem
functions by
vegetation structure
and the biophysical

For example, there is a considerable
amount of information available to
the public about fertilizers on when
the optimal time is to apply them,
where it is best to apply them, and
how to apply them. The purpose of
this type of information is to control
nitrogen movement (a.k.a. nutrient
cycling) through the urban environ-
ment thereby minimizing water
pollution. Through this column and
newsletter, we will explore how to
manage the entire urban forest for
ecosystems services.

Your comments, ideas, and sugges-
tions are welcomed.

Wayne can be reached by email at
wzipperer@fs.fed.us or by phone at
(352) 376-4576.

Urban Forest Management Plans: The Importance of

Including an Emergency Storm Response Plan

By Rachel Barker, Project Manager
Natural Resource Consulting, Inc.

Storm events involving violent
weather, such as tornadoes,
severe thunderstorms, micro
bursts and hurricanes are func-
tions of climatic conditions and
should be expected to impact the
city's tree population. When a
storm event occurs in your area, is
your community prepared to
respond efficiently and effectively?
Does your community have a Tree
Risk Management Plan that in-
cludes an Emergency Storm Re-
sponse Plan (ESRP)?

A likely scene after a storm event
involves downed trees and power
lines blocking the roadways and
impeding emergency vehicles in
route to injured citizens and/or
property. Although trees provide
many benefits, they can also pose
liabilities. Trees are not only infra-
structure assets to our communi-
ties; improving air quality, provid-
ing shade and cooling, and storm
water benefits but also infrastruc-
ture assets that mustbe managed,
similar to bridges, streets, and
other infrastructure.

A tree that is injured in a storm or
a tree that is "at risk" must be
inspected post storm to prevent
future and/or further damage
and/or injury to people, places and
property. Like an engineer inspects
bridges, intersection signals, etc.
after a storm event, a certified
arborist and/or certified municipal
arborist, inspects the community's
trees after a storm event Trees
should be included in the post
storm infrastructure inspection

A Tree Risk Management Plan
includes goals and objectives for a
community to evaluate their tree
management practices and
procedures and how these prac-
tices and procedures can be geared
to improve public safety through
risk assessment and emergency
readiness. Risk associated with
trees can be greatly reduced
through a proactive management
approach. It has been demon-
strated that communities that
proactively manage their trees
have far fewer problems in storms
than communities that do not.

"Risk associated
with trees can

be greatly

reduced through

a proactive



A key component of Tree Risk
Management Plan is the ESRP.
More often than not, in times of
storms, every city department
will pitch in to help where neces-
sary. As a result, there are not any
clear defining responsibilities.
This type of approach can be ef-
fective in clean up; however, it
often falls short in prioritizing
work, identifying trees "at risk"
and can allow certain aspects of
tree care to go unattended such
as follow up inspections and
reporting... thus increasing risk.

A good ESRP includes The Who,
The What, The Where, and The
How to respond and react
efficiently and effectively to the
impending storms that frequent
our areas.

The Who: Who will respond? Who
is in the chain of command? Who
takes in calls and priorities the
tree calls?

The What: What kind of equip-
ment is available? What contracts
are prepared to be implemented?
What trees do you remove? Private

The Where: Where will debris be
disposed of? Where is it to be

The How: How do you manage all
the calls? How to issue work orders
and post storm tree assessments?
How to communicate?

Rachel can be reached by email at
NRCnAL@aol.com or by phone at
(334) 252-0644.

Research Projects at the

Gainesville Campus
Con'tfrom page 1

Urbanization Effects on Soil Quality and Tree Cover
Characteristics in North and Central Florida
This work, in partnership with the Plant City campus
and the USDA Forest Service, focuses on the soil
quality found in Gainesville and Tampa's urban forest
and how these soils influence tree growth and function.
Community Perceptions of Tampa's Urban and
Rural Tree Cover
Specific objectives of the project are to determine the
extension and applied research needs of residents in
urban and rural Hillsborough County regarding urban
trees and urbanizing forests.
Urban Forest Canopy Change and Dynamics in
Southeast Florida
To provide a rapid and cost-effective method to analyze
tree cover change and establish permanent hurricane
effects and urbanization monitoring sites from 1984 to
2004 and 2004 to 2005.
Rapid Assessment of the Urban Forest Following a
Hurricane: Damage, Removal, and Restoration
The project will develop a preliminary assessment
model for urban forest damage and debris estimates
based on the severity of different windstorm events,
remote sensing, and urban forest structure data.
Assessing the Efficacy of Wildfire Mitigation
Treatments in Florida's Wildland-Urban Interface
A spatial database documenting the types, area treated,
dates of implementation, and effectiveness of WUI fuel
treatments is being compiled.
Risks to the Mexican Biosphere: Evaluation of
Ecosystem Vulnerability to Anthropogenic
In partnership with Universidad Nacional Aut6noma de
M6xico, we are developing methods to study the effects
of air pollution and urbanization on forest reserves
adjacent to Mexico City, Mexico.
Further issues of our newsletter will expand upon the
status and findings of the research projects. For
additional information about our projects contact
Francisco Escobedo by phone at (352) 378-2169.


Student Spotlight
Hello, I'm Cynnamon Dobbs, a
Chilean graduate student doing
a master's thesis on urban forest
soils. The objective of my
project is to characterize soil
quality in Gainesville and
Tampa's urban forests. The
results of my project can be
used to quantify and predict the
effects of urbanization and land
cover change on soils, urban
forest ecosystem function, and
environmental quality.


Photo Credits
Page 1: Larry V. Korhnak
Page 2: Melissa H. Friedman
Pages 3 and 4: Francisco Escobedo
Page 5: Jennifer A. Seitz
All contributors are from the University of Florida.
All contributors are from the University of Florida.




Urban and Urbanizing Forests Program
Con't from page 1

Forestry and the USDA Forest Service Center for greenspace; watershed health and trees; and energy
Urban and Interface Forestry. conservation and tree canopy.

Program emphasis areas include: As a result, an urban forest is an important community
resource, providing many social, economical, and
Quantification of Florida's urban and community
s, i g tr s f a environmental benefits (i.e., multiple functions). This first
forests, including their structure, function, and
newsletter will lay out the blueprint for our program and
educate readers on these concepts and how they can be
The effects of human influences, development, and used to solve urban forest problems.
hurricanes on urbanizing forests and urban
Two of our partners have contributed articles for our
newsletter explaining our "big picture" approach to urban
The effects of policy and management on soil, air, forestry. Dr. Wayne Zipperer from the USDA Forest
and water quality in and around urban areas; Service explains the science behind urban ecosystems
SOutr h m l dt ad i n and their relevance to the management of urban forests.
Outreach material development and information
Rachel Barker from Natural Resources Consulting,
synthesis for homeowners, builders, managers,
Inc. explains the need for proactive urban forest
natural resource professionals, and youth to better Inc. explains the need for proactive urban forest
understand urban forest function and urbanization. management and the need for emergency response plans.
understand urban forest function and urbanization.
Expect other articles like these from our partners in
So, at this point you might be wondering what do we future newsletters.
mean by an urban forest ecosystem? It is a combination of
he natural and buit infrastructure in comm ities We hope you enjoy our first newsletter and find it useful.
the natural and built infrastructure in our communities
d te is b n It is i d b For questions or comments about the newsletter or our
and the interactions between them. It is influenced by
programs, please contact Dr. Francisco Escobedo or
vegetation, climate, pavement, roads, utility lines, programs, please contact Dr. Francisco Escoedo or
Jennifer Seitz at [3521 846-2329 at the Gainesville
buildings, wildlife, and of course, people. And what do we Jennifer Seitz at (352) 8462329 at the Gainesville
campus and Dr. Michael Andreu or Melissa Friedman
mean by multiple functions? Well, research has indicated campus and Dr. Michael Andreu or Melissa Friedman
at the Plant City Campus at (8131 757-2272.
positive connections between human well-being and at the Plant City Campus at (813) 7572272.

Urban and Urbanizing Forests Program


Dr. Michael G. Andreu Assistant Professor
Dr. Francisco Escobedo Assistant Professor
Melissa H. Friedman Biological Scientist
Jennifer A. Seitz Extension Associate

s o Fi d II.S

"We address the issues surrounding expanding 0
urban areas and to understand forest
ecosystems in and around urban areas and their
multiple functions."
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