Assessing climate risk to support urban forests in a changing climate
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Tree failureTree mortalityUrban planningUrban sustainabilityUrban trees
Esperon-Rodriguez, M., Rymer, P. D., Power, S. A., Barton, D. N., Cariñanos, P., Dobbs, C., Eleuterio, A. A., Escobedo, F. J., Hauer, R., Hermy, M., Jahani, A., Onyekwelu, J. C., Östberg, J., Pataki, D., Randrup, T. B., Rasmussen, T., Roman, L. A., Russo, A., Shackleton, C., … Tjoelker, M. G. (2022). Assessing climate risk to support urban forests in a changing climate. Plants, People, Planet, 1–13. [https://doi.org/10.1002/ppp3.10240]
SponsorshipHort Frontiers Green Cities Fund, Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative; Research Council of Norway; Swedish Research Council Formas 2016-20098
The management of urban forests is a key element of resilience planning in cities across the globe. Urban forests provide ecosystem services as well as other nature-based solutions to 4.2 billion people living in cities. However, to continue to do so effectively, urban forests need to be able to thrive in an increasingly changing climate. Trees in cities are vulnerable to extreme heat and drought events, which are predicted to increase in frequency and severity under climate change. Knowledge of species' vulnerability to climate change, therefore, is crucial to ensure provision of desired ecosystem benefits, improve species selection, maintain tree growth and reduce tree mortality, dieback and stress in urban forests. Yet, systematic assessments of causes of tree dieback and mortality in urban environments are rare. We reviewed the state of knowledge of tree mortality in urban forests globally, finding very few frameworks that enable detection of climate change impacts on urban forests and no long-term studies assessing climate change as a direct driver of urban tree dieback and mortality. The effects of climate change on urban forests remain poorly understood and quantified, constraining the ability of governments to incorporate climate change resilience into urban forestry planning.