Distribution, Benefits, and Regulations of Baltimore’s Forest Patches

        Distribution, Benefits, and Regulations of Baltimore’s Forest Patches

          Article summary

          This white paper describes Baltimore’s forest patches, outlines their benefits, and discusses their treatment in current regulations. It then makes a series of policy recommendations to ensure that these “emerald assets” serve us for the long term. This article identifies four goals for forest patch preservation and their respective strategies to meet these goals: Improve forest patch data, coordinate work of city departments, update regulations, and engage residents. 14 percent of Baltimore’s tree canopy is in forest patches inside parks, and 20 percent is in forest patches  outside parks, totaling 4,822 acres.

          In a nutshell, this resource offers:

          • Spatial analysis of Baltimore's forest patches locations that include area, proximity to streams, distribution in relation to housing marketing values, and accessibility via transit lines.
          • A discussion of the importance of forest patches, from ecosystem services provided to a seed source for future tree propagation.
          • An analysis of the current ownership structure and ecological health of forest patches in Baltimore City. 
          • A description of current city and state regulations that inadequately address or protect urban forest patches.
          • Recommendations to address a lack of forest data, coordination between city agencies, insufficient regulations, and continuing to engage city residents.

          How to use this resource:

          • As an example of analyses that help make the case for the value of forested natural areas in an urban context.
          • As a source for ideas and solutions that might work in similar circumstances in your city, such as:
            • Provide stormwater fee credits to residents engaged in forest patch stewardship.
            • Protect specimen trees.
            • Determine financial value of forest patches and the cost of care.

          Author: Miriam Avins

          Date published:  2013

          Point of contact: Baltimore Green Space,office@baltimoregreenspace.org.

          Citation: Avins, M. 2013. Baltimore's forest patches: Emerald assets for ecosystem services. Baltimore Green Space, 1-34. 

          Resource available online here.


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