Urban Forestry with the Corner Brook Green Team

A man looks through an instrument to measure the height of a tree.

Green Team members Owen Fairrer and Brittney Garcia spent their summer working with the City of Corner Brook on the Urban Forestry Inventory Project. Ownen and Brittney collected data from over 400 trees in the area. The Team inventoried the City’s trees and assessed overall health, researched replanting measures, and determined new and/or local species to plant.

Urban Forestry 101: What is an Urban Forest?

When you think of a forest, do you think of a remote or rural place? Maybe camping, hiking, or visiting a national park like Gros Morne comes to mind? If that’s the case, you may have never considered urban forests. The trees that grow in urban neighborhoods and green spaces make up their own kind of forest.

Purdue University defines an “urban forest” as “the name given to the care and maintenance of those ecosystem areas that remain after urbanization.” Urban forests serve many functions in our cities and municipalities, such as filtering air and storm water runoff, as well as providing shade, animal habitats, and beauty.

A woman looks through a device at a tree.

City of Corner Brook Urban Forestry Inventory Project

Throughout the summer of 2021, Green Team members Brittney Garcia and Owen Farrier collected data about the trees in the Corner Brook area. Specifically, Brittney and Owen recorded foliage health, disease, insect damage, height, crown height, and Diameter Breast Height (DBH). Diameter Breast Height (DBH) is the diameter of each tree measured at “breast height”, defined as 1.35m up from the highest point of ground at the tree’s base. Using the data they collected, the Team created an inventory of over 400 trees in the City of Corner Brook area. 

The research and data collected by the Team will inform management, best practices, and City policy and procedure. Owen and Brittney researched tree species to add to the City’s green spaces and outlined replanting measures. In addition, the Team also researched the concept of carbon sequestration. The U.S. Geological Survey defines carbon sequestration as “the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change.”

Carbon sequestration is an important part of urban forestry because it is one way cities’ can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases, namely carbon dioxide, being released into the atmosphere. Urban forests are beautiful additions to our communities, but they also keep our environment healthy, form animal habitats, and help mitigate climate change. Urban forests also provide much needed shade and keep city streets cooler, particularly in warmer climates.

Planning Ahead: Why a Forest Inventory is Important

A woman and man stand on either side of a tree wearing reflective vests and measure the tree width with a measuring tape. A Conservation Corps NL sign is propped in front of the tree base.

The Green Team’s research will help the City of Corner Brook keep their urban ecosystem vibrant. As Owen and Brittney put it; “Ultimately, the involvement of the Green Team with the City of Corner Brook established a foundation for learning to create a healthier, more sustainable, eco-friendly urban environment.”

Learn more about Conservation Corps NL’s Green Team Program here.

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