Trees: Climate-Smart Infrastructure for Cities and Towns


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Trees: Climate-Smart Infrastructure for Cities and Towns

Kara Reeve, National Wildlife Federation

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  • Encouraging local governments, utilities, and regional planning organizations to
  • Cities and towns are using nature-based solutions be better prepared for its impacts Green roofs, rain gardens, and wetlands help manage stormwater and flooding in urban areasNetworks of parks & wildlife conservation areas to provide refugia from climate impacts
  • Salmon are not only an icon to the King County region, but they are an important natural resource that supports commercial, sport, and tribal identities and economies. According to the NOAA National Fisheries Science Center, in 1996, fish caught by Washington commercial fishers were worth an estimated $148 million. In addition, recreational anglers spent approximately $700 million on fishing related expenses, which translated into over 15,000 Washington jobs. The best available science indicates that climate change impacts on the freshwater period of salmon lifecycle are mostly negative. These impacts include increased winter flooding, (which can kill young salmon) and decreased summer stream flow with warmer river water temperatures, which can inhibit the spawning success of returning adult salmon.The Role of Forests: Keeping streams cool, clean and productive Healthy forests do many things to help support salmon including filter water pollution, keep water cool, shade salmon eggs and young salmon, and provide critical habitat for bugs that feed young salmon.
  • allows users and the County to understand spatial conditions across the landscape and also at specific locations/sites, while providing a less labor and resource-intensive way to guide landowners to adjust their management practices towards more environmental practices.Reduce stormwater runoff and erosionProvide shade in hot summer months
  • Positive feedback - positive feedback from users about the site navigation, including the fact that the site is easy to use and it is easy to move from one section to another. Locally-relevant data and resources personalize the user experience and may make users more likely to implement recommendations from the websiteSubject matter expert, or at least comfortable with researching and communicating the site content, including information related to climate change mitigation, adaptation, and forestry.
  • By promoting a variety of nature-based approaches such as these, the city will address stormwater flooding, the urban heat island effect, and coastal flooding, while also providing benefits to wildlife and their habitats.
  • Trees can help reduce the urban heat island effect and air conditioning, thereby lowering GHG emissions associated with building energy use.
  • Now I will read speaker bios
  • Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) data for King County provides an incredibly detailed map of tree and understory vegetation covering most of the local geography. By subtracting the volume of trees from a ground surface model, an estimate of total biomass stored on site is made. By comparing the volume of the selected site with the volume estimated at exemplary sites that are known to store large quantities of carbon, the site is ascribed an above average, average, or below average score. For more details on LIDAR data see the Puget Sound Lidar Consortium and the King County GIS Center: Digital Elevation Data. The data used f
  • Trees: Climate-Smart Infrastructure for Cities and Towns

    1. 1. Trees: Climate-Smart Infrastructure for Cities and Towns Kara E. Reeve Manager, Climate-Smart Communities National Wildlife Federation November 7, 2013
    2. 2. NWF: Inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future
    3. 3. Dual Approach for Responding to Climate Change • Mitigation – Addresses causes of global warming especially through reducing carbon pollution • Adaptation – Addresses impacts of climate change on people and wildlife Dual—not dueling—approaches: Both are essential and complementary
    4. 4. Climate-Smart Communities Program NWF is helping communities identify and implement nature-based approaches to prepare for the impacts of climate change • Encouraging use of nature-based approaches in climate action, sustainability, and land use planning activities; • Providing guidance for rebuilding and recovery efforts so that when natural disasters strike, nature-based approaches, like restoring coastal wetlands, are prioritized to mitigate future risks; and • Helping ensure that long-term disaster risk reduction and hazard mitigation activities incorporate best-available climate change science and prioritize nature-based approaches.
    5. 5. Nature-Based Approaches to Climate Change Adaptation South Los Angeles Wetlands Park Credit: Justin Cram Green roof, Washington DC Rain garden, Portland, OR
    6. 6. Trees: Climate-Smart Infrastructure for Cities and Towns Healthy trees can help reduce carbon pollution and help communities be better prepared for the impacts of climate change Bear Cup and Salmon Credit: Jitze Couperas • • • • Credit: M.V. Jantzen Reduce stormwater runoff and erosion Provide wildlife habitats Sequester carbon Provide shade in hot summer months •Help reduce energy use and costs •Help keep aquatic habitats cool
    7. 7. Forestry Climate Preparedness & Response (CPR) tool: NWF worked with King County, WA, to develop a tool for landowners to understand the climate change mitigation and adaptation benefits of healthy trees • Funding provided by U.S. Forest Service National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost-Share Grant Program. • Quantifies and explains key existing land and forest characteristics, such as the amount of forest carbon stored at a particular site, using an embedded Geographic Information System (GIS) tool • Provides customized management recommendations from a Forest Health Assessment • Healthy trees can help reduce carbon pollution and help communities be better prepared for the impacts of climate change Photo: Charlie Archambault
    8. 8. General Guidance – Specifics on the Forests’ Role Each drop down tab gives information on specific challenge brought on by climate change, then the ways in which forests can help reduce the impacts of the problem.
    9. 9. Geographic Information System Tool
    10. 10. Forestry CPR: Lessons Learned Technical • GIS tool took more time and resources than any other aspect of the website, but response has been positive – more than 200 hours to build the CPR website - learning curve for the GIS team • Relied on local data sources that already existed & customized with local information and resources • King County convened a technical review board that was composed of forestry experts from local universities, state and federal agencies, and others, to review the site content • Consider designating one person to coordinate the site development, including communicating the needs of the website to the site developer and the GIS team. Outreach & Engagement • CPR is only valuable if residents are using it, so it’s a good idea to budget and plan for outreach efforts from the very beginning of project development. • Consider including a set of landowner profiles that describe the website recommendations they each followed to improve their land management practices. – Profiles would track the success of residents who have used the tool using before and after pictures – Would describe the techniques and strategies used • Customized guidance based on a landowner’s specific parcel could also enhance the site – King County did not include this feature due to data challenges.
    11. 11. Since launch the King County Forestry CPR project website has been visit by more than 2,000 unique visitors (not including any visits to the NWF project website/resources)
    12. 12. Growing Greener: Eco-Structure for Climate Resilience • Identified gap in resources about climate change and the urban forest •Created on-line portal on NWF website with project overview, links to CPR, guide, Wildlife Academy training, webinars Credit: Flickr user Yinghai
    13. 13. Growing Greener Chapters Urban Forests & Climate Change Describes climate change impacts in urban areas profiles nature-based approaches to build community resilience. Case Study: Urban and Community Forestry—Climate Preparedness and Response (CPR): Climate-Smart Actions to Protect and Enhance the Health of Urban Forests Recommendations for integrating climate change considerations into the planning for and management of urban forests. Threats to Tree Health—Managing For Pests Information and resources on common invasive species, pests, and diseases that threaten urban trees across the country. NWF Programs for Resilient Communities: NWF’s programs and resources that are designed to build healthy, resilient communities, including NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitat ® program. Regional & National Resources For Improving Forest Health
    14. 14. Climate-Smart actions to protect and enhance the health of the urban forest: • • • • • Understand which trees and plants in your region are appropriate for a changing climate Develop a climate-smart tree species planting list Integrate climate change information into pest and invasive species management Transform yards and vacant properties into wildlife gardens Understand, analyze, and leverage the benefits of urban trees
    15. 15. Understand which trees and plants in your region are appropriate for a changing climate Sample questions to consider: • Would the current mix, or the selected tree species, hold up well under the projected climate impacts for the region, such as drier, hotter, wetter, and/or more extreme conditions? If they wouldn’t, what changes in practices (eg., increased use of water, planting larger trees instead of seedlings) would be required in order to establish and maintain them? • Which species have higher drought tolerances, and could be substituted for species that are not likely to do well with increased drought? Based on site location, which trees and plants could withstand flooding, and even reduce flow rates/absorb more water? Are there trees and plants that can handle both drought and flooding well? Adapted from: Derby Lewis, A., Hall, K.R. and Hellmann, J.J. 2012. Advancing Adaptation in the City of Chicago: Climate Considerations for Management of Natural Areas and Green Spaces in the City of Chicago.
    16. 16. Develop a climate-smart tree species planting list • Engaged the City of Baltimore and now the Baltimore’s 2013 Disaster Preparedness and Planning Project integrates climate information into urban forestry planning. • Plan states that high priority should be placed on native trees with high adaptive capacity, meaning they are likely to survive future climatic conditions. Climate-Smart Tree Planting List for Lorain, Ohio (Black River Watershed). Source: National Wildlife Federation. Species list adapted from Climate Change Tree Atlas (A Spatial Database of 134 Tree Species of the Eastern USA) html#
    17. 17. Integrate climate change information into pest and invasive species management Sample Questions to Consider: • Which invasive species or pest species require the most attention under current conditions, and are these likely to continue to be a problem in the future under continued climate change? • Is it likely that warmer temperatures will favor new invasive species, such as those that currently pose a problem in more southern regions? Such species could be targets for early detection and early management to prevent or slow establishment. Emerald Ash Borer. Credit: USFS Adapted from: Derby Lewis, A., Hall, K.R. and Hellmann, J.J. 2012. Advancing Adaptation in The City of Chicago: Climate Considerations for Management of Natural Areas and Green Spaces in the City of Chicago. Southern Pine Beetle. Credit: USFS
    18. 18. Transform yards and vacant properties into wildlife gardens • Few people living in these urban and suburban areas consider their lawns and gardens as wildlife conservation areas able to sustain our declining plants and animals – but they can be! • Landowners can design a Certified Wildlife Habitat® in a way that not only provides habitat for wildlife, but also helps reduce the impacts that climate change has on people and wildlife. • Networks of Certified Wildlife Habitats® can help restore wildlife in cities and suburbs, sequester carbon, reduce the urban heat island effect, and help manage flooding and drought.
    19. 19. Understand, analyze, and leverage the benefits of urban trees Robust urban tree canopies can reduce carbon pollution, provide habitat and food for wildlife, improve shade and cooling effects, and manage stormwater flooding. Examples: • The City of Arcata, CA, was the first municipality in the country to contract for the sale of forest carbon offsets. The forestry project will be registered and verified according to the rigorous Climate Action Reserve protocols. The revenue from this sale will be used to decrease logging activities and allow tree stands to reach an older age. • Developed by the USDA Forest Service, iTree is a series of forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools that helps users quantify the ecosystem services and values from trees. Credit: Flickr user andypiper
    20. 20. For more information: Kara E. Reeve
    21. 21. Changes in USDA Hardiness Zones 1990 Map 2006 Map 2006 Map USDA Arbor Day 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 0 2006 National Arbor Day Foundation
    22. 22. Data Sources for GIS Tool Forest Characteristics - Carbon Storage & Tree Height Estimate of the amount of biological carbon stored in trees and understory plants on a site, and an average tree height for trees on site. Water Resources Estimate of the amount the property that is covered by water bodies including wetlands, streams and ponds, as well as a 50-foot buffer area of land around these water resources. Development Pressure A measure of how susceptible land may be to conversion from forest to developed real estate. Wildlife Habitat Network(s) Identifies the network composed of contiguous vegetated corridors that are intended to link wildlife habitat with critical area buffers, priority habitats, trails, open space, and other areas to provide for wildlife movement. Proximity to Protected Areas Measures the proximity of a parcel is to other protected areas, including public lands (parks, private lands with conservation easements, other areas where there is protection from permanent conversion by development).