Modelling the Current and Future Ecosystem Services of Urban Tree Planting in Chicopee & Fall River, Massachusetts

Authors: Rowan Moody*, , Deborah Martin, Adviser, John Rogan, Adviser, Nick Geron, Adviser, Marc Healy, Adviser
Topics: Urban Geography, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: Greening the Gateway Cities, Urban Heat Island, i-Tree Eco, urban forests, ecosystem services
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Urban land-use is increasing rapidly, with approximately 1.5 million km2 converted globally from non-urban land-use by 2030. As urban centers increase in size and density, areas of impervious surface absorb and emit increasing amounts of heat that fuels urban-based climate warming. Mature urban tree canopy and widespread vegetation cover disrupt local urban heat island (UHI) effects, providing ecological services through environmental characteristics. The state of Massachusetts established the Greening the Gateway Cities Program (GGCP) in 2014 to reduce resident energy costs in environmental justice neighborhoods by expanding urban tree canopy in locations with low canopy cover, high wind speeds, and below state average income and education levels. However, the return on investment of specific types and levels of ecosystem services provided by trees are largely unknown. This study asks: what are the current and future ecosystem services provided by GGCP trees in the gateway cities of Chicopee & Fall River? The i-Tree Eco program was used to model the current and future (2050) ecosystem services provided to residents by the juvenile trees using an urban tree inventory of 2,271 street and residential trees planted between 2014 and 2017. This database contains information on tree species, tree height, canopy width, diameter at breast-height, and a measure of tree vigor (0-5). By analyzing the breakdown and distribution of energy savings, pollution removal, and runoff control provided as ecosystem services, this study provides a fuller description of the benefits and economics of urban forests.

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