Log in

Editor's Picks

Allan Taylor
A long-standing member of the IOS and fomer editor of Oak...
Panayoti Kelaidis | Dec 17, 2022
img_1085.jpg
A new study resolves many nomenclatural problems in the...
Carlos Vila-Viçosa | Dec 09, 2022
The team at SDZWA
Christy Powell of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance works...
Amy Byrne | Dec 06, 2022

Plant Focus

Quercus macdougallii
A rare oak endemic to the Sierra Juárez in Oaxaca

Urban Oak Landscapes of the Future

PDF icon Log in or register to access the full text.

Bryan R. Denig, Miles Schwartz Sax, and Nina L. Bassuk

Published May 2019 in International Oaks No. 30: 247–252

Abstract

What role will oaks play in the urban landscapes of the future? Currently, over half of the global human population lives in urban areas, and some projections anticipate that this will increase to two thirds by 2050. Trees are vital to enhancing the quality of life in cities, as they provide many environmental, economic, and sociocultural benefits. Yet to provide these benefits in a substantial way, urban trees need to grow well and survive for long periods. Unfortunately, trees surrounded by pavement are usually short-lived. Some studies have found the average lifespan of city street-trees to be as low as 10 years. Elevated temperatures, drought, and degraded soils are just a few of the reasons for their early demise. These challenges have led to a diversification of the trees planted in cities, yet the species utilized should still be tolerant of stressful urban conditions. Matching a tree species to the environment of the planting site is key to success. As a genus, Quercus is often underrepresented in cities (at least in the Northeastern United States). When oaks do compose a considerable proportion of the urban forest, it is usually only with a few species of Quercus. This is surprising, as the genus is so large and diverse, and oaks in general often have the reputation of being stress-tolerant. So why aren’t oaks better represented in urban tree plantings? And how can quercophiles encourage the greater use of oaks in future urban landscapes?

Keywords

climate change, urban forestry, street trees, species diversity

References

Bassuk, N.L., B.R. Denig, and M.S. Sax. 2016. Asexual Propagation of Oak Hybrids: Our Progress, and the Challenges of Producing Clonal Plants. International Oaks 27: 99-106.

Cowett, F.D., and N.L. Bassuk. 2017. Street Tree Diversity in three Northeastern U.S. States. Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 43(1): 1-14.

Denig, B.R., P.F. Macrae, X. Gao, and N.L. Bassuk. 2014. Screening Oak Hybrids for Tolerance to Alkaline Soils. Journal of Environmental Horticulture 32: 71-76.

Frumhoff, P.C., J.J. McCarthy, J.M. Melillo, S.C. Moser, and D.J. Wuebbles. 2007. Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast: Science, Impacts, and Solutions. Synthesis report of the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA). Cambridge, MA: Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). 

Iverson, L.R., A.M. Prasad, S.N. Matthews, and M. Peters. 2008. Estimating potential habitat for 134 eastern US tree species under six climate scenarios. Forest Ecology and Management 254 (3): 390-406.

Jim, C.Y. 1998. Urban soil characteristics and limitations for landscape planting in Hong Kong. Landscape and Urban Planning 40(4): 235-249.

Nowak D.J., and J.F. Dwyer. 2007. Understanding the Benefits and Costs of Urban Forest Ecosystems. In Urban and Community Forestry in the Northeast, edited by J.E. Kuser, pp. 25-46.  New York: Springer. 

Santamour, Jr., F.S.1990. Trees for urban planting: Diversity, uniformity, and common sense. Proceedings 7th Conference Metropolitan Tree Improvement Alliance (METRIA) 7: 57-65.

Wallace, A., and G.A. Wallace. 1986. Ornamental plants most likely to be killed by iron deficiency and some control measures. Journal of Plant Nutrition 9(3-7): 1009-1014.