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Baltimore Field Station

Forest Ecology & Management

Researchers study the urban forest canopy. Photo Credit: Sarah Low, US Forest ServiceUrban forests are made up of the trees and other vegetation in parks, greenways, waterfronts, and residential yards across public property, private property, and vacant land. Many cities have set ambitious tree planting goals in an effort to increase urban tree canopy cover. Forest Service research has supported these efforts by providing tools to help communities inventory and map their current canopy cover, prioritize areas for tree planting, and estimate benefits received from their urban forests. These tools help municipalities plan for a resilient future in the face of climate change, loss of open space, and declining urban canopy cover nationwide. As a result, the Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) suite of tools has been included in the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.

Long-term research at the Baltimore Field Station reveals the ways that urban forests change across time and space, and how urban tree canopy may be related to local residents’ quality of life. Detailed assessments of the urban forest as a natural resource, combined with studies of urban residents’ attitudes and behaviors related to trees, contributes to a better understanding of the spatial distribution of the urban forest, why it is there, and how policymakers may best increase tree canopy in the future.


Baltimore Field Station Projects supporting Forest Ecology & Management include:

Publications and Data

Publications are listed in reverse chronological order.

All data associated with this research is archived on the BES website.


Battaglia, Michael; Buckley, Geoffrey L.; Galvin, Michael; Grove, Morgan. 2014. It's not easy going green: Obstacles to tree-planting programs in East Baltimore. Cities and the Environment (CATE). 7(2):6.

Grove, J. Morgan; Locke, Dexter H.; O’Neil-Dunne, Jarlath PM.  2014. An ecology of prestige in New York City: examining the relationships among population density, socio-economic status, group identity, and residential canopy cover. Environmental management 54(3): 402-419.

Locke, Dexter H.; Grove, J. Morgan. 2014. Doing the Hard Work Where it’s Easiest? Examining the Relationships Between Urban Greening Programs and Social and Ecological Characteristics. Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy: 1-20.

Lerman, Susannah B.; Nislow, Keith H.; Nowak, David J.; DeStefano, Stephen; King, David I.; Jones-Farrand, D. Todd. 2014. Using urban forest assessment tools to model bird habitat potential. Landscape and Urban Planning. 122: 29-40.

Nowak, David J.; Hirabayashi, Satoshi; Bodine, Allison; Hoehn, Robert. 2013. Modeled PM2.5 removal by trees in ten US cities and associated health effects. Environmental Pollution. 178: 395-402.

Nowak, David J.; Greenfield, Eric J.; Hoehn, Robert E.; Lapoint, Elizabeth. 2013. Carbon storage and sequestration by trees in urban and community areas of the United States. Environmental Pollution. 178: 229-236.

Troy, Austin; Grove, J. Morgan; O'Neill-Dunne, Jarlath. 2012. The relationship between tree canopy and crime rates across an urban-rural gradient in the greater Baltimore region. Landscape and Urban Planning. 106: 262-270.

Nowak, David J.; Greenfield, Eric J. 2012. Tree and impervious cover change in U.S. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 11(1): 21-30. .

Nowak, David J. 2012. Contrasting natural regeneration and tree planting in fourteen North American cities. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 11(4): 374-382.

Yesilonis, Ian D.; Pouyat, Richard V. 2012. Carbon stocks in urban forest remnants: Atlanta and Baltimore as case studies. Chapter 5. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer: 103-120.

Huebner, Cynthia D.; Nowak, David J.; Pouyat, Richard V.; Bodine, Allison R. 2012. Nonnative invasive plants: Maintaining biotic and soceioeconomic integrity along the urban-rural-natural gradient. In: Laband, D.N.; Lockaby, B.G.; Zipperer, W., eds. Urban-rural interfaces: linking people and nature. Madison, WI: American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America: 71-98.

Pataki, Diane; Carreiro, Margaret; Cherrier, Jennifer; Grulke, Nancy; Jennings, Viniece; Pincetl, Stephanie; Pouyat, Richard; Whitlow, Thomas; Zipperer, Wayne. 2011. Coupling biogeochemical cycles in urban environments: Ecosystemservices, green solutions, and misconceptions.

Vemuri, Amanda W.; Grove, J. Morgan; Wilson, Matthew A.; Burch, William R. Jr. 2011. A tale of two scales: Evaluating the relationship among life satisfaction, social capital, income, and the natural environment at individual and neighborhood levels in metropolitan Baltimore. Environment and Behavior. 43(1): 3-25.

Nowak, David J.; Greenfield, Eric J. 2009. Urban and community forests of the Southern Atlantic region: Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-50. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 85 p.

Groffman, Peter M. Williams, Candiss O. Pouyat, Richard V. Band, Lawrence E. Yesilonis, Ian D. 2009. Nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide flux in urban forests and grasslands. Journal of Environment Quality. 38(5): 1848-1860.

Troy, Austin; Grove, J. Morgan. 2008. Property values, parks, and crime: A hedonic analysis in Baltimore, MD. Landscape and Urban Planning 87: pp. 233–245.

Zhou, Weiqi; Troy, Austin; Grove, Morgan. 2008. Object-based land cover classification and change analysis in the Baltimore metropolitan area using multitemporal high resolution remote sensing data. Sensors. 8: 1613-1636.

Yesilonis, Ian D.; James, Bruce R.; Pouyat, Richard V.; Momen, Bahram. 2008. Lead forms in urban turfgrass and forest soils as related to organic matter content and pH. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 146: 1-17.

Pouyat, Richard V.; Yesilonis, Ian D.; Szlavecz, Katalin; Csuzdi, Csaba; Hornung, Elizabeth; Korsós, Zoltan; Russell-Anelli, Jonathan; Giorgio, Vincent. 2008. Response of forest soil properties to urbanization gradients in three metropolitan areas. Landscape Ecology. 23: 1187-1203.

Heisler, Gordon; Walton, Jeffrey; Yesilonis, Ian; Nowak, David; Pouyat, Richard; Grant, Richard; Grimmond, Sue; Hyde, Karla; Bacon, Gregory . 2007. Empirical modeling and mapping of below-canopy air temperatures in Baltimore, MD and vicinity. In: Proceedings of the seventh urban environment symposium; 2007 September 10-13; San Diego, CA. American Meteorological Society. 7 p.

Nowak, David J.; Hoehn, Robert; Crane, Daniel E. 2007. Oxygen production by urban trees in the United States. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry. 33(3): 220-226.

Pouyat, Richard V.; Pataki, Diane E.; Belt, Kenneth T.; Groffman, Peter M.; Hom, John; Band, Lawrence E. 2007. Effects of urban land-use change on biogeochemical cycles. In: Canadell, J.G.; Pataki, D.E.; Pitelka, L.F., eds. Terrestrial ecosystems in a changing world. Berlin. Springer-Verlag: 45-58.

Heisler, Gordon; Walton, Jeffrey; Yesilonis, Ian; Nowak, David; Pouyat, Richard; Grant, Richard; Grimmond, Sue; Hyde, Karla; Bacon, Gregory. 2007. Empirical modeling and mapping of below-canopy air temperatures in Baltimore, MD and vicinity. In: Proceedings of the seventh urban environment symposium; 2007 September 10-13; San Diego, CA. American Meteorological Society. 7 p.

Pouyat, R.V.; Yesilonis, I.D.; Russell-Anelli, J.; Neerchal, N.K. 2007. Soil chemical and physical properties that differentiate urban land-use and cover types. Soil Science of America Journal. 71(3): 1010-1019.

Pickett, Steward T.A.; Belt, Kenneth T.; Galvin, Michael F.; Groffman, Peter M.; Grove, J. Morgan; Outen, Donald C.; Pouyat, Richard V.; Stack, William P.; Cadenasso, Mary L. 2007. Watersheds in Baltimore, Maryland: understanding and application of integrated ecological and social processes. Journal of Contemporary Watershed Research and Education. 136: 44-55.

Pouyat, Richard V.; Yesilonis, Ian D.; Nowak, David J. 2006. Carbon storage by urban soils in the United States. Journal of Environmental Quality 35: 1566-1575.

Groffman, Peter M.; Pouyat, Richard V.; Cadenasso, Mary L.; Zipperer, Wayne C.; Szlavecz, Katalin; Yesilonis, Ian D.; Band, Lawrence E.; Brush, Grace S. 2006. Land use context and natural soil controls on plant community and soil nitrogen and carbon dynamics in urban and rural forests.

Pataki, D.E.; Alig, R.J.; Fung, A.S.; Golubiewski, N.E.; Kennedy, C.A.; McPherson, E.G.; Nowak, D.J.; Pouyat, R.V.; Lankao, P.R. 2006. Urban ecosystems and the North American carbon cycle. Global Change Biology. 12: 1-11.

Nowak, David J.; Kuroda, Miki; Crane, Daniel E. 2004. Tree mortality rates and tree population projections in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Urban Forestry Urban Greening. 2: 139-147.

Pouyat, Richard V.; Russell-Anelli, Jonathan; Yesilonis, Ian D.; Groffman, Peter M. 2003.Soil carbon in urban forest ecosystems. In: Kimble, J.M.; Heath, Linda S.; Birdsey, Richard A.; Lal, R., eds. The potential of U.S. forest soils to sequester carbon and mitigate the greenhouse effect. Boca Raton: CRC Press: 347-362.

Pouyat, R.; Groffman, P.; Yesilonis, I; Hernandez, L. 2002. Soil carbon pools and fluxes in urban ecosystems. Environmental Pollution. 116: S107-S118.

Nowak, David J.; Crane, Daniel E. 2002. Carbon storage and sequestration by urban trees in the USA. Environmental Pollution. 116: 381-389.

Partner Publications

Holtan, Meghan T., Susan L. Dieterlen, and William C. Sullivan. 2014. Social life under cover: tree canopy and social capital in Baltimore, Maryland. Environment and Behavior 47(5): 502-525.

Zhou, W., Huang, G., Pickett, S. T., & Cadenasso, M. L. 2011. 90 years of forest cover change in an urbanizing watershed: spatial and temporal dynamics. Landscape ecology, 26(5), 645-659.

Last Modified: September 21, 2017