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Title: Just street trees? Street trees increase local biodiversity and biomass in higher income, denser neighborhoods
Abstract

Tree canopy cover is a critical component of the urban environment that supports ecosystem services at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Increasing tree canopy across a matrix of public and private land is challenging. As such, municipalities often plant trees along streets in public rights‐of‐way where there are fewer barriers to establishment, and composition and biomass of street trees are inextricably linked to human decisions, management, and care. In this study, we investigated the contributions of street trees to the broader urban forest, inclusive of tree canopy distributed across both public and private parcels in Baltimore, MD, USA. We assess how species composition, biodiversity, and biomass of street trees specifically augment the urban forest at local and citywide scales. Furthermore, we evaluate how street tree contributions to the urban forest vary with social and demographic characteristics of local residential communities. Our analyses demonstrate that street trees significantly enhanced citywide metrics of the urban forests' richness and tree biomass, adding an average six unique species per site. However, street tree contributions did not ameliorate low tree canopy locations, and more street tree biomass was generally aligned with higher urban forest cover. Furthermore, species richness, abundance, and biomass added by street trees were all positively related to local household income and population density. Our results corroborate previous findings that wealthier urban neighborhoods often have greater tree abundance and canopy cover and, additionally, suggest that investment in municipally managed street trees may be reinforcing inequities in distribution and function of the urban forest. This suggests a need for greater attention to where and why street tree plantings occur, what species are selected, and how planted tree survival is maintained by and for residents in different neighborhoods.

 
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NSF-PAR ID:
10395872
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Ecosphere
Volume:
14
Issue:
2
ISSN:
2150-8925
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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