Ecological Values and Ecosystem Services of Natural Forests: A Study of Prince William Forest Park, Virginia
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Abstract The Urban Forest Effects (UFORE) model developed by the USDA Forest Service quantifies the ecological benefits of urban forests. UFORE has been used to analyze many urban areas, including National Park land in Washington, D.C., but has not been applied to natural forests. We conducted a UFORE analysis of Prince William Forest Park for species composition and individual tree characteristics including tree height, DBH, canopy architecture, and general tree health, collecting data during the 2007 field season. The results show that the park contains over 6,287,000 trees and these trees store 394,000 tons of carbon with an annual net sequestration rate of 12,300 tons. This forest also abates 414 tons of air pollution annually. These results quantify and affirm to policymakers and the public the value and ecological importance of the forests managed by the National Park Service surrounding metropolitan Washington, D.C.