Creating a matrix to assess pest vulnerability in Massachusetts Gateway City tree plantings

Authors: Elizabeth Lohr*, Clark University, John Rogan, Clark Univesrity, Nick Geron, Clark University
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: Pest Vulnerability Matrix, urban tree canopy, urban forestry, pest vulnerability
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download



Maintaining the health status of recently planted tree cohorts is essential to achieving the ecosystem benefits associated with a mature urban tree canopy. Since 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has planted over 8,000 trees throughout thirteen cities as part of the Greening the Gateway Cities Program (GGCP), which aims to reduce residential energy use by increasing tree canopy cover. The GGCP, like many tree planting programs, currently has no metric for quantifying the vulnerability of the planted tree assemblages to potential pests and diseases. To assess this vulnerability, this study examines two of the Gateway Cities, Chicopee and Fall River, as case studies. A Pest Vulnerability Matrix (PVM) was adapted from a Laćan and McBride’s work in Cailfornia to include pest and disease interactions specific to Massachusetts by collecting regional expert knowledge This research evaluates which tree species planted by the DCR have a significantly high or low vulnerability. It also compares vulnerability between both cities, which differ geographically and functionally through the species selection practices of foresters. The new PVM can be used by the DCR for the GGCP to help determine the vulnerability of tree cohorts they are planting, in order to both optimize their current planting program and inform future decision making to ensure a sustainable urban forest. It can also be used in other cities across the Northeastern USA that plant similar species in urban areas to assess potential pest and disease vulnerability.

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