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Street Tree Survival in Philadelphia and Canopy Soils

Street Tree Survival in Philadelphia and Canopy Soils

February 2024

Street Tree Survival in Philadelphia and Canopy Soils

CPD hours or CEU points available

With Levon Bigelow and Korena Mafune

Street Tree Survival in Philadelphia and Canopy Soils

Levon Bigelow

Levon Bigelow

Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE)

Levon is a research fellow with the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) working on a project with U.S. Forest Service researchers.

Levon received a bachelor’s degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources from Rutgers University in 2018, where he became interested in urban forestry.

He interned with Bartlett Tree Experts and the New Jersey Forest Service prior to graduating and continuing on as a forestry technician in the New Jersey Forest Service’s Urban & Community Forestry program. After gaining some part-time experience as program assistant with the New Jersey Tree Foundation (non-profit tree planting organization) and working on a project with the Rutgers Urban Forestry program, Levon moved to New York City to work as a street tree planting forester in the Parks & Recreation department.

On a quest to become more knowledgeable in the field, Levon pursued a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut in Natural Resources and the Environment. There, he studied street tree dynamics in an urban system (Philadelphia) while also working as a volunteer coordinator for Connecticut’s Urban Forestry program. He returned to New Jersey to work as a forester in the Urban & Community Forestry program before deciding to pursue his interest in research-oriented projects. Now, Levon works as a research fellow with the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) in conjunction with U.S. Forest Service researchers. Their project, based in California, focuses on tree dynamics on schoolyard campuses.

Korena Mafune

Korena Mafune

Korena Mafune was born and raised outside of Seattle, and has always been passionate about Washington’s beautiful and diverse ecosystems. She is a proud Japanese-American and the first in her family to receive a degree.

She received her B.S. in Restoration Ecology and Environmental Horticulture from the University of Washington in 2013, where she completed an independent Capstone Project with Dr. Jon Bakker. The project focused on restoring native prairies, and this is really when she started 'digging' deep into soils and their below-ground processes, She knew she wanted to continue to research the 'hidden half', so directly upon completion of her B.S., she applied and was accepted to UW’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS) graduate program. She completed her M.S. in 2015, which was a pilot study exploring adventitious rooting systems in canopy soils (thick organic soil mats that form on tree branches!!). The results from this study resulted in many local and non-profit organizations funding the entirety of her PhD research.

For her PhD, Korena worked closely with Drs. Daniel and Kristiina Vogt, who run the interdisciplinary Vogt Lab of Ecosystem and Conservation Ecology. This research focused on nutrient dynamics and root-associated fungi in canopy soils (thick mats of organic matter on tree branches) located in Washington State’s old-growth temperate rainforests. During this time, she was also the main instructor for the department's Soil Ecology Course. She also helped teach Soils & Land Use, Soils & Site Productivity, Mycorrhizas & The Ecosystem, Environmental Resource Assessment, and Sustaining Pacific Northwest Ecosystems. In the past, she has also instructed geology labs and biology field trips.

As Korena wrapped up her PhD, she was named a 2021 Washington Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. In October 2021, she joined the Winkler Lab. Her postdoctoral research focuses on tripartite interactions among plants, fungi, and bacteria, and how certain types of bacteria and fungi can be harnessed for sustainable agricultural practices.

On the side, you can find Korena participating in science communication and collaborating with organizations inside and outside of academia to broaden the participation of under-represented communities in STEM.

Longitudinal Analysis of Street Tree Composition & Survival in Philadelphia (2015-2021)

Summary

Street trees are important, highly visible components of the urban forest, providing ecosystem services (e.g., shade) directly to communities. Street tree mortality can result in a loss of ecosystem services for which the trees are planted, particularly premature mortality accelerated by local biophysical and human factors. My study involved a systematic, repeated inventory and mortality analysis of street tree populations in Philadelphia, PA. I sought to understand how street tree survival is influenced by 1) tree traits and attributes, 2) the local biophysical environment, and 3) neighborhood socioeconomic context in Philadelphia. We re-inventoried 2,701 street trees in 103 randomly-located, fixed-length street segment plots with high-precision location methods to monitor long-term changes in individual trees. The trees in this study experienced an annual mortality rate of 3.67% between 2015-2021. Stem counts revealed a net decrease of 115 trees, or 4.33%. The trees in this study followed a Type III mortality curve, with the highest annual mortality rates in the lowest size class. Multivariate analysis revealed significant associations between street tree survival and tree crown vigor, expected mature stature, drought tolerance, site type, land use type, % impervious surface in a 15m buffer, parcel-level demolition events, % of residents in poverty, % unoccupied households, and % renter-occupied households. Additionally, the final model included a multiplicative interaction term between crown vigor and tree size with separation in pattern of small (DBH < 7.6cm) from larger (DBH ≥ 7.6cm) trees. This study includes recommendations to address tree survival and population perpetuation that align with Philadelphia’s strategic Tree Plan, released in early 2023, which aims to improve the quality and distribution of its tree resource. Longitudinal monitoring studies such as this provide valuable information for management decisions and program assessment.

The secret life of old-growth treetops: Understanding how canopy soils contribute to temperate rainforest function

February 2024

Street Tree Survival in Philadelphia and Canopy Soils

With Levon Bigelow and Korena Mafune

Street trees are important, highly visible components of the urban forest, providing ecosystem services (e.g., shade) directly to communities. Street tree mortality can result in a loss of ecosystem services for which the trees are planted, particularly premature mortality accelerated by local biophysical and human factors. My study involved a systematic, repeated inventory and mortality analysis of street tree populations in Philadelphia, PA.

February 2024

Tilia Trees and Wild Streets

With Dr Carrie Brady, Helene Kile and Ascha Pedersen

Tilia in the limelight: exploring the bacterial microbiome of diseased lime trees

February 2024

Why do we lose so many trees?

With Russell Miller and James Chambers

Why do so many urban trees get felled unnecessarily? This webinar will look at how bad law, poor risk management and weak arboriculture cause premature tree loss; identifying where the law and arboriculture must improve if they are to maintain public confidence through the biodiversity and climate crisis.

January 2024

Tree decay: a few questions still worth asking

With Dr David Lonsdale

David Lonsdale took on the job of leading a research project on decay in amenity trees.

January 2024

Roots

With Kristin Moldestad and Olve Lundetræ

Arboricultural Association is hosting a free live seminar featuring Kristin Moldestad and Olve Lundetræ.

Buy Roots here

January 2024

Beating the tree greenwash; my top tips for making urban greening happen

With Jeremy Barrell

Arboricultural Association is hosting a free live seminar featuring Jeremy Barrell.

January 2024

Forests before humans - from the first trees to the Ice ages

With Sir Harry Studholme

How trees evolved, from photosynthesis to the ice age. Their part in the last 380 million years of planetary history.

January 2024

Ancient Trees and Planning

With Jim Mullholland and Emma Gilmartin

Jim Mullholland and Emma Gilmartin joins us for a fascinating webinar centered around veteran trees and planning.

December 2023

Woodlands at War: The Impact and Legacy of WWI and WWII on Britain’s Woodlands

With Clive Mayhew

This webinar focuses on the largely overlooked contribution made by British woodlands over two world wars.

December 2023

Tree Selection for climate resilience

With Henrik Sjöman and Arit Anderson

There is an increasingly positive attitude towards trees and tree planting in urban environments, not only among landscape professionals, but from those who previously did not understand the importance of the urban canopy.

December 2023

Britain’s Ancient Forest - Legacy and Lore

With Julian Hight

Julian explores the story of Britain’s ancient forest told through its remaining ancient trees and surviving customs – living links to our rich history – accompanied by specially written forest music and archive photography.

November 2023

A farmer’s guide to ash dieback

With Eleanor Marks (LEAF) and Berglind Karlsdóttir (Forest Research)

Arboricultural Association is hosting a free live seminar featuring Eleanor Marks (LEAF) and Berglind Karlsdóttir (Forest Research)

November 2023

Thinking Arbs with Ted Green and friends – TREETIME

With Ted Green and friends

To celebrate the launch of his new book Treetime, the Arboricultural Association is hosting a free live seminar featuring Ted Green and some special guests.

Buy Treetime here

February 2023

Trees and Storms

With With Andrew Koeser and Allyson Salisbury

The last in this current webinar series is a FREE live webinar exploring the research around trees and storms.

February 2023

Trees in Development

With Sharon Durdant-Hollamby and Luke Fay

In this webinar we endeavour to delve into trees within the development and construction industry.

February 2023

Trees and the Law

With Dr Charles Mynors and Liz Nicholls

We welcome Dr Charles Mynors and Liz Nicholls to our webinars with talks and discussions around the subject of trees and the law.

January 2023

Guidance on Soil Assessment for Trees

With Claire Harbinson and Simon Parfey

Claire Harbinson and Simon Parfey, from Treework Environmental Practice, join us to discuss Guidance on Soil Assessment for Trees.

January 2023

European tree standards and the dangers of tree planting

With Jarek Kolařík and Martin Tušer

We welcome Jarek Kolařík and Martin Tušer to discuss the benefits and challenges of recent European Standards within tree care.

January 2023

Thinking Arbs: Retrenchment

With Ted Green and Reg Harris

Ted Green, Reg Harris and friends join us for a webinar to discuss retrenchment.

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