SUSTAINABILITY OF AN URBAN TREE PLANTING GROUP: ASSESSING THE CONDITION AND BENEFITS ASSOCIATED WITH RECENTLY PLANTED TREES IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
Torres, Alexandra Olivia
Sullivan, Joseph H.
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Washington, D.C. has experienced a substantial decline in tree canopy cover during the latter half of the 20th century. Casey Trees, a local non-profit organization, was established with the purpose of stabilizing D.C.'s urban forest. Over 10,000 trees have been planted; however, little is known about the condition or benefits associated with these trees. In order to enhance the sustainability of Casey Trees' planting program, I established baseline rates of condition and mortality and created a set of management recommendations based on numerous pre-planting, environmental and socioeconomic variables. Tree mortality was found to be high, with 24-34% of trees not surviving the first few years of growth. Nursery, planting time, landuse, space type, jurisdiction and numerous socioeconomic variables had a significant effect on tree survival. This study suggests that active programmatic decisions can be made to help reduce new tree mortality and ultimately enhance the long-term production of urban tree-based benefits.