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    Climbers' CornerTree Academy

    Conifers in the Urban Forest


    Trees in the urban landscape are key components of green infrastructure.  Green infrastructure is the aggregate of plants and green spaces in the urban landscape.  This infrastructure serves many functions within the urban area and provides a multitude of benefits which are becoming increasingly more valuable as municipalities look to remediate environmental issues caused by urbanization.  The value of the urban forest is an integral part of securing funding and support for urban forestry initiatives: the higher the value the more support is gained, and the more benefits accrued.  The majority of species that make up urban forests across the United States and Canada are broadleaf deciduous species.  Many of the benefits that urban trees provide are attributed to their canopies (i.e. rainwater interceptions, pollution absorption, wildlife cover, etc.).  When these trees drop their leaves during autumn, the benefits of their canopies affectively drop to negligent levels. Especially in regions where rainfall events occur mostly during this leaf-off season, the additional canopy cover afforded by evergreen tree species in concert with the canopy architecture and density of evergreen conifers specifically, could prove to be highly valuable in regards to canopy-dependent tree benefits.  A greater use of conifers as urban trees will also lead to a greater species diversity in the urban forest which helps make the ecosystem more stable and resilient in the face of pest and disease outbreaks.  This paper presents rationale for the increased use of conifers in the urban landscape, discusses possible issues associated with evergreen conifers, recommends design uses, and finally shows that a distinct gap in the literature exists in regards to research on conifers in the urban landscape. 


    J. Casey Clapp is a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst pursuing his Master's of Science under Dr. H. Dennis P. Ryan III.  The focus of his research is the use and associated benefits of evergreen and deciduous conifers in the urban landscape.  Casey earned his Bachelor's of Science in Forest Management with a focus on Urban Forestry from Oregon State University and is an ISA Certified Arborist.  Casey was awarded the ISA Summer Internship during the summer of 2012 and worked at the ISA Headquarters developing educational materials for ISA's online learning center, and worked for the City of Columbia, Missouri as the Society of Municipal Arborists' Summer intern in 2013.  He has also written a Detective Dendro article published in Arborist News (2013) as well as several other small articles published in Arborst News and other newsletters.  Casey is originally from Portland, Oregon.

    Climbers' CornerTree Academy

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