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Social-Ecological Factors Affecting Young Tree Survival in Atlanta, Georgia

Authors: Sarah Fleckenstein*, Furman University
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Coupled Human and Natural Systems
Keywords: Urban forestry, tree survival, urban trees, social-ecological systems
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/9/2020
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual Track 2
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Urban trees are introduced to a variety of different stressors that impact tree health at the planting location. These stressors include characteristics of the tree and site, biophysical environment, and community characteristics. Multiple stressors can lead to tree mortality, and synergistic effects complicate their connections. There have been few studies that clearly explain the way tree survival is affected by the specific urban social-ecological factors. In this study, tree survival is modeled to explain how multiple social-ecological factors influence the survival of young trees planted in Atlanta, USA. Tree data was provided by the planting organization Trees Atlanta and social-ecological variables were represented using various existing GIS data. Using the program RMark, we modeled daily tree survival rates to identify variables most predictive of tree survival in order to sustain the urban tree canopy. The models were run for all trees and several subsets including growth spaces and by some of the most planted genus. The most important variables as determined by RMark showed that the road-related data and community characteristics most affected tree survival. This shows that the community and physical environment are influential factors for tree survival, and should thus be considered in planting and management plans for urban forestry.

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