Urban tree growth models for two Lower Midwest cities show notable differences

Authors: Adam Berland*, Ball State University
Topics: Environment, Physical Geography, Natural Resources
Keywords: urban forestry, allometric models, ecosystem services, urban environment
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Urban trees provide a range of ecosystem services such as shade, aesthetics, and mitigation of stormwater runoff. Most of these benefits depend on the size of the tree, so accurately modeling benefits over time requires reliable models of growth for urban tree species. In this study, I developed tree growth models for 13 common street tree species in Cincinnati, OH based on field data and planting records. Then I compared the modeled tree growth curves for Cincinnati to analogous models from 160 km away in Indianapolis, IN. To estimate how differences in modeled tree growth translate to differences in ecosystem services, I compared annual ecosystem service estimates from Cincinnati and Indianapolis using the i-Tree MyTree model. The comparisons showed substantial differences between the two cities. For example, the estimated diameter at breast height for a 25-year-old Callery pear tree was 31.3 cm in Cincinnati and 35.9 cm in Indianapolis, a size difference of 14.5% that translated to an estimated difference of nearly $10 in annual benefits. These results advance our understanding of urban tree growth rates by comparing models from two nearby cities, and by underscoring the inherent variability in urban tree growth that will drive attendant differences in the ecosystem services provided by trees.

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