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Tree mortality rates and tree population projections in Baltimore, Maryland, USA

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Based on re-measurements (1999 and 2001) of randomly-distributed permanent plots within the city boundaries of Baltimore, Maryland, trees are estimated to have an annual mortality rate of 6.6% with an overall annual net change in the number of live trees of –4.2%. Tree mortality rates were significantly different based on tree size, condition, species, and land use. Morus alba, Ailanthus altissima, and trees in small diameter classes, poor condition, or in transportation or commercial – industrial land uses exhibited relatively high mortality rates. Trees in medium- to low-density residential areas exhibited low mortality rates. The high mortality rate for A. altissima is an artifact of this species distribution among land use types (24% were in the transportation land use). Based on a new tree population projection model that incorporates Baltimore's existing tree population and annual mortality estimates, along with estimates of annual tree growth, Baltimore's urban forest is projected to decline in both number of trees and canopy area over the next century. Factors affecting urban tree mortality are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station, Syracuse, NY, USA 2: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY, USA

Publication date: 2004-02-01

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