Growing the Urban Forest

Full Title

Catalyzing integrative approaches to spatial and temporal dynamics of urban forests


The planting and managing of urban trees are major public investments in green infrastructure that anticipate delivery of ecosystem services. Trees planted today are expected to provide tangible benefits decades into the future. The existing mature canopy, formed in years past, grew in the context of the changing environmental, institutional, and social fabric of cities. Investments in urban greening can be optimized by understanding how urban forests vary over space and time: the socioeconomic and biophysical drivers of spatial and temporal dynamics in urban forest structure and canopy distribution.

The goal of this workshop is to advance theories of urban forest change by bridging approaches from currently disconnected literatures, including sociospatial dimensions of inequitable canopy distribution, urban greening governance and planning, and forest population dynamics. Key research questions to be addressed are:

  • How do contemporary socioeconomic and ecological processes alter or reinforce landscape legacies—from past human and biophysical forces—in urban canopy spatial patterns?
  • What are the feedbacks between urban tree population dynamics and changes in human demographics and governance?
  • How should information about institutions and community stewardship be combined with ecological data about forest structure—including both conventional and citizen science data sources—to assist cities in planning for canopy cover goals?

Products from the workshop will be:

  1. A synthesis manuscript on conceptual frameworks for urban forest dynamics, with an interdisciplinary research agenda,
  2. Conference symposia and non-academic articles for urban forest managers about new conceptual frameworks, and
  3. New interdisciplinary urban forest research proposals from workshop participants.
Project Type
Team Synthesis Project
Principal Investigators
Lara Roman, U.S. Forest Service
Hamil Pearsall, Temple University
Adrina Bardekjian, Tree Canada
John Battles, UC Berkeley
Deborah Boyer, Azavea
Mary Cadenasso, UC Davis
Tenley Conway, University of Toronto
Clinton Davis, Temple University
Theodore Eisenman, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert Fahey, University of Connecticut
Darrel Jenerette, UC Riverside
Cecil Konijnendijk, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Marianne Krasny, Cornell University
Shawn Landry, University of South Florida
Sarah Mincey, Indiana University
Diane Pataki, University of Utah
Harold Perkins, Ohio University
Christina Staudhammer, University of Alabama
Natalie Van Doorn, U.S. Forest Service
Jess Vogt, DePaul University
Matthew Wilson, University of Kentucky
Abigail York, Arizona State University

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