New York is far greener than anyone expected.
Researchers carrying out a huge survey of New York City’s trees found there are over 5 million ‘forested natural areas’ along with 666,000 street trees.
They say the study, the most comprehensive ever of New York’s ‘urban forest’, could revolutionize urban planning.
‘These findings confirm that native, healthy, and productive forests still exist in the nation’s largest city, providing valuable ecosystem services and local recreational opportunities for millions of city-dwellers,’ said Clara Pregitzer, a doctoral candidate at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) and lead author of the paper.
Teams spent two years collecting data in 53 designated forested natural areas, measuring the structure and composition in more than 1200 plots and measuring more than 40,000 individual trees.
Forested natural areas are essentially places that look and feel like ‘the woods’ or ‘forests’ as they are more traditionally known, the researchers said, as opposed to urban forest areas typified by street trees and park trees in in addition to natural areas.
Researchers found the city contains a variety of forests, due to the rich geologic history and proximity to water bodies in New York City — from the oak- and hickory-dominated forests along the terminal moraine that stretches from the southern end of Staten Island to the Bronx, to the maritime coastal forests, located at the confluence of the Hudson River and the Atlantic, where shrubby northern bayberries, black cherry, and sumac dominate.