Assessing Woody Species in the Philadelphia Urban Forest: Foraging Potential Versus Actual Practices

Authors: Sarah Becker*, Ursinus College, Patrick Hurley*, Ursinus College
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: urban foraging, foraging practices, material uses
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 4:30 PM / 6:10 PM
Room: Congressional A, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Urban forests are known to produce a variety of ecosystem services for city residents, but questions regarding which species and plant parts are utilized for cultural and provisioning services remain. Utilizing data reporting harvested woody plant parts in urban Philadelphia, this paper analyses the correspondence of identified plant parts and uses with the officially inventoried species composition of the urban forest. Results demonstrate a focus of foraging practices on propagules from species both present and not in the inventory. Though harvested materials are documented for a limited number of species (40.5% of inventory species representing 43.5% of estimated trees), these species’ importance cannot be discounted. Philadelphia’s forests still support a large variety of uses, even if harvest intensity is narrowly focused. This evaluation provides a model for rapidly assessing other cities’ urban forest composition, the likelihood of species targeting by foragers, and potential harvesting frequencies.

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