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Threats to Urban Forests

THREATS TO URBAN FORESTS Photo by  Craig Vodnik  on  Unsplash "What are the hazards trees in cities face," a student asked me this summer. I gave a thoughtful but short answer along the lines of it depends on where the tree is located—sidewalk, park, natural area—and if the tree was planted with a carer lined up to provide stewardship. The NYC Parks Department segments the urban forest into three categories: street trees, trees in landscaped parks, trees in forested natural areas. While there are overlapping threats, trees growing in sidewalk settings face unique challenges.  There is a laundry list of threats to trees everywhere, and new ones seem to pop up constantly. With the news of Beech Leaf Disease (BLD) and the decline of the beech component in northeast forests—seeing the effects of BLD in real life—the wind was knocked out of me this summer. I began drafting this post in August and have been sitting with it since then.   American Beech canopy showing signs of Beech
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