Advancing Management of Urban Forested Natural Areas: Toward an Urban Silviculture?

        Advancing Management of Urban Forested Natural Areas: Toward an Urban Silviculture?

          Article summary

          Cities worldwide are engaging in large-scale greening projects motivated by the wide range of documented ecological, economic, and social benefits of urban forests. Urban forested natural areas are a critical component of the total urban forest but are often overlooked and typically lack formal management frameworks. One approach to addressing this deficiency may be to borrow from traditional ecological management frameworks and practices (that is, silviculture). Although urban forested natural areas share similarities with rural forests, the impacts of urbanization on forest stand dynamics may require modification of these methods and in some cases development of novel silvicultural guidelines. In this article, the authors present an urban silviculture framework through which to synthesize emerging research and identify challenges and opportunities for advancing goal setting, assessments, and on-the-ground management strategies. Adapting silvicultural practices to cities can improve the long-term sustainability of urban forests and establish management approaches that address future conditions in forests across the urban–rural continuum.

          In a nutshell, this resource offers:

          • A definition of what an urban forested natural area is and what it look like, including their structural similarity to rural forests.
          • Justification for why urban forested natural areas require management and attention.
          • A conceptual framework for incorporating traditional forest management into urban settings: forest assessment methods, management objectives and goal setting, vegetation management, and monitoring.

          How to use this resource:

          • As a model for undertaking silviculture, or more traditional forest management, in an urban forested natural area.
          • As a citation from a peer-reviewed journal to justify intensive forest management in a proposal. 
          • As a starting place for understanding how to manage a forest as a whole, rather than the manage the trees.

          Author: Max Piana, Clara Pregitzer, Richard Hallett

          Date published: 2021

          Point of contact: Max Piana, Research Ecologist, USDA Forest Service, 

          Citation: Piana, M. R.; Pregitzer, C. C.; Hallett, R. A. 2021. Advancing management of urban forested natural areas: toward an urban silviculture? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Pp 1-10.

          Resource is available online here.


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