Rapid Site Assessment Manual for NYC Forests
The Rapid Site Assessment (RSA) is a forest assessment methodology that was developed as part of the Forest Management Framework (FMF) for New York City; its central focus is characterization of ecosystem threat levels at a site to inform management actions under the FMF. The FMF is a collaborative effort by the Natural Areas Conservancy and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (NYC Parks) that consists of a 25-year plan to guide restoration, management, and community engagement for New York City’s forested parkland; this plan includes the process, costs, steps, recommendations, best practices, and goals for forest management. The FMF is the result of six years of research, data collection, and analysis by NAC scientists, including a two-year field study conducted in forests under NYC Parks’ jurisdiction, which provided the baseline forest-condition data for all calculations. Within the FMF, conducting the RSA serves as the first step in the management of a site.
In a nutshell, this resource offers:
- A streamlined methodology for quickly assessing the ecological health of a given forest area
- A detailed description of all data collection methods used in the protocol including training materials for data collection, data entry sheets, and instructions for data analysis
How to use this resource:
- RSA is a assessment protocol used in a forested area at which restoration, management, maintenance, or monitoring work is required or currently ongoing.
- The methodology is conducted at forested sites when a site manager determines that management intervention to reduce threats is required, but before management activities begin.
- After collection, the RSA data are primarily used to quantify ecosystem threats present within the bounds of an
RSA Site. To do this, collected data are transformed into the more standardized forestry units of stems per hectare and basal area per hectare, and then a formula applied to quantify threat levels
Author: NYC Parks & Natural Areas Conservancy
Date published: 5/19/2022