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The ‘city forests’ of New York revealed: New research shows that the city has five MILLION trees

New York is much greener than everyone expected.

Researchers who have carried out an enormous investigation into the trees in New York City have discovered that there are more than 5 million ‘wooded nature areas’, together with 666,000 street trees.

They say that the study, the most extensive ever of New York’s ‘city forest’, could cause a revolution in urban planning.

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During the two-year inventory, biologists collected data from all parks and nature reserves of New York City. While 40 percent of the city is considered 'green space', many of them include parks, cemeteries and backyards.

During the two-year inventory, biologists collected data from all parks and nature reserves of New York City. While 40 percent of the city is considered ‘green space’, many of them include parks, cemeteries and backyards.

WHAT IS IN THE URBAN FORESTS OF NEW YORK?

During the two-year inventory, biologists collected data from all parks and nature reserves of New York City.

While 40 percent of the city is considered ‘green space’, many of them include parks, cemeteries and backyards.

About one-eighth of this green space is considered to be wooded natural areas.

That is good for more than 10,000 hectares of natural areas, a considerable part for a densely populated city of 8.6 million people.

“These findings confirm that indigenous, healthy and productive forests still exist in the country’s largest city, providing valuable ecosystem services and local recreational opportunities for millions of city dwellers,” said Clara Pregitzer, a PhD student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Science (F&ES) and lead author of the article.

Teams spent two years collecting data in 53 designated wooded nature areas, measuring the structure and composition in more than 1,200 plots and measuring more than 40,000 individual trees.

Forested nature areas are essentially places that look and feel like ‘the forest’ or ‘forests’ as they are more traditionally known, the researchers say, unlike urban forest areas characterized by street trees and park trees in addition to natural areas.

Researchers discovered that the city has a variety of forests due to the rich geological history and proximity of bodies of water in New York City – from the oak and hickory dominated forests along the final moraine that stretches from the southern end of Staten Island to the Bronx, on the maritime coastal forests, situated at the confluence of the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean, where scrubland dominates northern bayberries, black cherry and sumac.

Aerial view of parks in the Bronx, including Van Cortlandt Park. Researchers who have carried out a major investigation into the trees in New York City have discovered that there are more than 5 million 'wooded nature areas', along with 666,000 street trees.

Aerial view of parks in the Bronx, including Van Cortlandt Park. Researchers who have carried out a major investigation into the trees in New York City have discovered that there are more than 5 million 'wooded nature areas', along with 666,000 street trees.

Aerial view of parks in the Bronx, including Van Cortlandt Park. Researchers who have carried out a major investigation into the trees in New York City have discovered that there are more than 5 million ‘wooded nature areas’, along with 666,000 street trees.

The team of researchers discovered that native species still make up about 82 percent of the New York City forest stands.

While 40% of New York is considered ‘green space’, many include parks, cemeteries and backyards.

Only about an eighth is forested nature reserves, although this still represents a significant 4,000-plus hectare amid the skyscrapers and 8.6 million people.

Most visitors consider the parks of New York, such as Central Park, depicted as the only place to find trees. However, a new study found that New York City has more than 5 million “wooded nature areas”, along with 666,000 street trees.

The researchers say that the forest areas are the key – and admit that they were surprised by the number of native trees.

“New York City has been managing these forests for over 35 years, but we have never fully known the different species, or quantified the structure and proportion of indigenous species,” said.

Of the 57 unique forest types in the city, the researchers found 81 percent native forest types that have a greater resemblance to forests that you might find in the Catskills or other rural parts of the state than the urban canopy described in those other recent reviews.

During the two-year inventory, biologists collected data from all parks and nature reserves of New York City.

While 40 percent of the city is considered ‘green space’, many of them include parks, cemeteries and backyards.

About one-eighth of this green space is considered to be wooded natural areas.

That is good for more than 10,000 hectares of natural areas, a considerable part for a densely populated city.

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