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Title: Urban Forests

Author: Nowak, David;

Date: 2016

Source: In: Robertson, G.; Mason, A., eds. Assessing the sustainability of agricultural and urban forests in the United States. USDA Forest Service FS-1067, Washington, DC: 37-52.

Publication Series: Book Chapter

Description: Urban forests (and trees) constitute the second forest resource considered in this report. We specifically emphasize the fact that agricultural and urban forests exist on a continuum defined by their relationship (and interrelationship) with a given landscape. These two forest types generally serve different purposes, however. Whereas agricultural forests are considered primarily in terms of their contribution to biodiversity conservation or, as in the case of agroforestry, to agricultural production, urban forests are assessed primarily in terms of the range of environmental services and values they provide to urban and suburban residents. The potential list of services is extensive and will vary according to different individuals, organizations, and locations, with many services being difficult to precisely quantify. Trees affect numerous environmental processes, such as water cycling; sound propagation; and pollution formation, dispersion, and removal. Trees also directly affect human populations by altering the social, economic, health, and aesthetic aspects of urban environments. These effects exist in all treed landscapes but are more prominent in urban areas because of the higher concentration of people. As in the previous chapter, this chapter begins with a general description of the resource, including formal definitions. This first section also includes a brief listing of environmental services associated with urban forests and the specific threats they face. The second section presents currently available data for understanding urban forests at the national scale. These data rely heavily on satellite imagery and are focused on describing the extent of forest cover in urban areas. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the adequacy of the current information base and strategies for improving it.

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Nowak, David. 2016. Urban Forests. In: Robertson, G.; Mason, A., eds. Assessing the sustainability of agricultural and urban forests in the United States. USDA Forest Service FS-1067, Washington, DC: 37-52.


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