Session: Social-Ecological Drivers of Change in Urban Forest Patches
A tale of urban forest patch governance in four eastern US cities
Monday, August 2, 2021
Link To Share This Presentation: https://cdmcd.co/w3QE4X
Anita T. Morzillo and Robert Fahey, Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, Lindsay K. Campbell, Northern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Kristen King, Forestry, Horticulture & Natural Resources, NYC Parks, Long Island City, NY, Katherine Lautar, Baltimore Greenspace, Baltimore, MD, Lydia Scott, Chicago Region Trees Initiative, The Morton Arboretum, Chicago, IL, Michelle L. Johnson, Northern Research Station, NYC Urban Field Station, USDA Forest Service, Bayside, NY, Mysha Clarke, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, Luke Rhodes, Fairmont Park Conservancy, Philadelphia, PA, Stephanie Pincetl, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, Nancy F. Sonti, Northern Research Station, Baltimore Urban Field Station, USDA Forest Service, Baltimore, MD, Dexter H. Locke, National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), Baltimore, MD, John Paul Schmit, National Capital Region Inventory and Monitoring Network, Office of Natural Resources and Science, US National Park Service, Washington, DC, Matthew E. Baker, Geography & Environmental Systems, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, Lea R. Johnson, Division of Research and Conservation, Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA
Anita T. Morzillo
Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Connecticut Storrs, CT, USA
Background/Question/Methods Urban forest patches have uses, ownerships, and management priorities distinctly different from street trees and landscaped park trees. However, few studies have examined social and governance structures, processes, and feedbacks shaping urban forest patches. We used a transdisciplinary and qualitative approach co-produced by practitioners and researchers to evaluate and conceptually map urban forest patch governance arrangements for four U.S. urban areas (Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore). First, we identified the prominent problem motivating forest patch management for each location. Then, interactive, and iterative discussion served to illustrate and describe the decision-making processes, governance arrangements, and actions that lead to the desired forest conditions for each urban area in response to the prominent problem. From this process, we derived a basic conceptual model to anchor synthesis across cities. Results/Conclusions A common goal across all four locations was to manage for multi-age, structurally complex forests dominated by native species. However, governance arrangement shaping management actions varied across locations in terms of managed land ownership, institutional and social-ecological legacies, scale of decision-making, scientific input, and drivers of flows and feedbacks. Locations illustrated unique collaborations with different catalyzing events and policies that function as driving forces initiating and shaping new management actions. Urban forest patches matter ecologically and socially, and governance approaches evolve organically as driven by place-based historical legacies and socio-ecological feedbacks. At the same time, counterintuitive findings, miscommunication, and inaccurate interpretation of results can be influenced politically and may lead to inappropriate targets inconsistent with desired site-specific conditions. The net result is an ongoing dilemma for managers who must select management approaches that balance short-term political objectives and long-term social and ecological goals while adapting to changing political and social priorities and biophysical conditions.