ENVR-450: Senior Inquiry Seminar

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Biodiversity | Forest Sciences

Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

Urban forests (parks, right-of-way trees, yards, and remnant woodlots and semi-natural areas) are critical sources such diversity in urban areas. Diversity of urban forest is often related to the socioeconomic status, housing age, and elevation of the neighborhood. With the invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in the last decade, conserving and enhancing the diversity of urban forests has become an important tool in increasing the resilience of such ecosystems to such devastating invasion. We assessed the diversity and composition of the forests of 17 parks in Rock Island, Illinois and examined the relationship between such diversity and the socioeconomic status and age of the surrounding neighborhoods. The 5 most abundant trees eastern cottonwood, crabapple tree, white pine, red maple, and green ash. The weak, negative relationship between park tree richness and house age was not significant. The weak positive relationship between park tree richness and mean assessed residential property values was not significant. The weak, nonsignificant relationships matched the relationships found in other papers. Future research should focus on incorporating the findings of a complete inventory of all city-owned right-of-way trees to further explore urban forest diversity and its relationship to the socioeconomic status of surrounding neighborhoods.