austin urban forest

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LAS 682 Urban Forest & ManagementAUSTIN, TEXAS URBAN FORESTPrepared By:


En. Abd. Haris bin Shamsuddin

AUSTIN, TEXAS URBAN FORESTAustins urban forest provides millions of dollars annually in social, economic, and environmental benefits to the community and enhances the quality of life for Austin residents.As the city continues to grow and develop the urban forest remains an integral part of the Austin landscape, quietly performing as one of the most invaluable community members and infrastructure components.

Austins urban forest is a healthy and sustainable mix of trees, vegetation, and other components that comprise a contiguous and thriving ecosystem valued, protected, and cared for by the City and all of its citizens as an essential environmental, economic, and community asset.

AUSTIN, TEXAS URBAN FORESTIssues & ProblemTemperatures higher than 100 degrees fahrenheit in The city basks in sunlight 75 percent of the time City buildings and paved streets reflecting back this sunshine and heatTemperatures in austin can be two to nine degrees hotter than in the surrounding countrysideURBAN HEAT ISLAND

program managementNeighbourhoods

This program began in Austins Parks and Recreation Department and is now administered through a contract with the non-profit Tree Folks, distributes between 3,000 and 4,000 trees to Austin Energy customers for planting near the city streets in the right of way. While technically these trees are on city land, Austenite are responsible for maintaining the trees and vegetation growing there, which means that neighbourhood support is a key element of the program.

program managementSapling Days

This event will hold during fall. On these select days, approximately 3,000 tree saplings are given away to Austin-area residents for planting on their private property, as much of the available space for expanding the citys urban forest is available on homeowners land.

program managementExpands the Tree Canopy On private land is through its Austin community trees program, a partnership among neighbourhoods, Austins planning and development review department, parks and recreation department and Austin energy. Through this program, the city offers 10 species of large shade and small understory trees for planting on private property in neighbourhoods with low tree canopies. This program specifically aims to engage neighbourhoods in greening the city.

program managementGreen Roof Stakeholder Group

Sometimes, though, especially in downtown spaces, trees may not be a feasible solution to urban heat island reduction, so in 2009, the Austin City Council passed a resolution to create a green roof stakeholder group to explore the feasibility of offering energy and storm-water credits and other incentives, based on performance, to encourage the creation of green roofs in the city.

program managementGreat Streets ProgramsThis program was designed to improve the quality of downtown streets and sidewalks. Great Streets works with private developers to create streetscapes that go above and beyond the citys minimum requirements. To encourage private developers to improve their streetscape plans, the city offers financial assistance to help offset the costs of streetscape work beyond the citys minimum standards.

SIGNIFICANT VEGETATIONThe City of Austin is losing one of its most important assets, the beautiful live oaks and red oaks that form a shady, green canopy over the city. These oak trees are being threatened by a contagious disease called oak wilt.

Over the past twenty years, Austin has lost more than 10,000 oaks to the deadly and infectious oak wilt disease. For both individuals and the City as a whole, this loss is felt by increased utility bills, reduced property values, and a sense of devastation.

The Treaty Oak is once a majestic tree in Austin, Texas. In 1997, the Treaty Oak produced its first crop of acorns since the vandalism. City workers gathered and germinated the acorns, distributing the seedlings throughout Texas and other states. Today the tree is a thriving, but lopsided reminder of its once-grand form. Many Texans see the Treaty Oak today as a symbol of strength and enduranceThe Treaty Oak

The City of Austin's Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) began the Oak Wilt Suppression Project in 1988. The purpose of the project was to educate the public, locate the disease, provide technical and cost-share assistance, and monitor treatments for any continued spread. Suppression Project

ConclusionThe urban forest in Austin, is mostly comprised of over-mature oaks and semi- mature weedy trees. Although most of the tree care practice is reactive versus proactive, there is potential for urban forest growth and development. Mature trees are reaching later stages of decline with little effort of improving tree vigour or vitality. Utility pruning is on-going; throughout the city numerous trees have utilities present in their vicinity.

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