Pittsburgh has over 2,000 acres of parkland within Schenley, Frick, Riverview and Highland Parks, and almost half of that is dense woodlands. The ecological health of these woodlands is currently threatened with extensive tree loss due to non-native insects, diseases and invasive plants, and too many deer. More than 60% of the native tree population in our parks is threatened, and not all these trees can be saved. But the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is taking the lead to develop a Park Tree Action Plan to minimize loss and speed recovery.
Park Tree Action Plan
The Parks Conservancy, the City of Pittsburgh, and other collaborators gathered a number of tree specialists from across the country to tour the four historic city parks and assess the potential damage our trees face from emerald ash borer, oak wilt, and other challenges. The specialists we recruited confirmed that we may be facing significant losses in the coming years. That day we began outlining an action plan for 2011 and beyond. The plan has both short-term and long-term objectives, emphasizing best integrated management practices and setting management priorities based on field conditions and resources. The plan will also include specific action for each forest health condition that is harming the urban forest, be practical with measurable results, and be acceptable to both the administration and the public.
The plan is currently under development; we will post it in this space when it has been completed.
How You Can Help
To support these efforts and ensure that our park trees will stand tall for future generations, visit www.pittsburghparks.org/donate and select "Park Tree Fund" from the designation menu. Keep up with the progress of the Park Tree Action Plan on our blog.
On February 17, 2011, the Parks Conservancy hosted a public event, "Preserving Pittsburgh's Trees: Action and Recovery." Six speakers presented information about the threats to Pittsburgh's trees and ways to fight back. These presentations, along with audio from the evening's event, are archived below.
Phil Gruszka, Director of Park Management and Maintenance, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Urban Parks Woodlands
Dr. William MacDonald, Professor, Division of Plant and Soil Sciences, West Virginia University, Oak Wilt: Deadly But Manageable Disease
Dr. Walter Carson, Professor, Plant Community Ecology and Tropical and Temperate Forest Ecology, University of Pittsburgh, The Bambi Plague in the Eastern Deciduous Forest of the U.S.
David Schmit, Forest Health Specialist, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Emerald Ash Borer / Native Wildflowers
David Jahn, Pittsburgh City Forester, Responding to Threats in Pittsburgh's Urban Forest
Lisa Ceoffe, Urban Forester and TreeVitalize Coordinator, City of Pittsburgh, TreeVitalize Pittsburgh