Children are hoisted up into a tree at the Rieth Center in Goshen during Arbor Day activities in April 2014. A study will take a look at what trees will survive in Goshen in coming years as global warming changes the local climate. Goshen News file photo
Children are hoisted up into a tree at the Rieth Center in Goshen during Arbor Day activities in April 2014. A study will take a look at what trees will survive in Goshen in coming years as global warming changes the local climate. Goshen News file photo
GOSHEN — Concerns about climate change and its long-term impact on the city’s urban forest led Goshen Board of Public Works and Safety members Monday to approve a study aimed at exploring which tree species may be best suited to the Goshen area in coming years.

During their meeting, board members approved a contract not to exceed $9,200 for the hiring of Aidan Friesen, who will be tasked with heading up the study. Friesen is a recent college graduate with a background in biology who has worked with city forester Aaron Sawatsky-Kingsley on related projects in recent years.

“The city recognizes that climate change poses distinct challenges to the urban forest in terms of preferred habitat shifts for many tree species, resulting in potential long-term degradation of the urban forest and the many economic benefits it provides,” the contract states. “Some trees which are currently in Goshen may become decreasingly viable during the 21st century. In order to provide a healthy and robust urban forest for the next several generations, the city needs to begin researching which species are most vulnerable, and which species from other regional climate zones may be most adaptable.”

SCOPE OF SERVICES

According to Sawatsky-Kingsley, Friesen’s services under the new agreement will involve taking research he began last year focused on the city’s College Farm neighborhood and adapting it to look at the city’s entire public tree inventory.

Research for the study shall draw on U.S. Forest Service data from the Climate Change Atlas to analyze the city’s current inventory, to discover vulnerabilities and to project tree species that may be valuable to Goshen in the future, he explained.

A breakdown of the scope of services to be provided by Friesen includes:

PART 1

• Calculate projected benefit of trees in the Goshen Public Tree Inventory;

• Input Goshen Public Tree Inventory into excel file classified by dbh (diameter at breast height) and number of stems;

• Determine which trees are on the USDA U.S. Forest Service Climate Change Database as well as the Goshen Public Tree Inventory database;

• Determine current importance values for tree species by running research-developed equations;

• Determine projected importance values for trees with climate change database;

• Run formulas to determine projected economic benefits of the trees in Goshen in 2100; and

• Provide the city with a report including methodology, description of data, interpretation of data and conclusions of research, including demonstrations of data utilizing graphs, tables, etc.

PART 2

• Determine tree species that will be economically beneficial for Goshen to begin planting;

• Use information from Part 1 to determine which trees currently in Goshen are projected to be economically beneficial in 2100.

• Jan. 27 to Feb. 7: Use Climate Change Atlas maps to determine which tree species are projected to have favorable habitat in northern Indiana.

• Feb. 10 to Feb. 21: Determine which species of trees are growing in Goshen, and apply Part 1 to determine economic benefits in the future.

• Feb. 24 to March 6: Determine which favorable species of trees are not currently present in Goshen/northern Indiana; identify municipalities where those favorable tree species are currently growing, and which have a current importance value similar to the research projected, future importance value of those tree species in Goshen; obtain access to tree inventory database from such municipalities.

• March 9 to March 20: If inventory access is granted, use data to project future benefits for favorable trees and project benefits for both a high and low climate change scenario utilizing the scales of saplings or smaller trees, medium sized trees and mature trees.

• If no inventory access is granted, explore feasibility of a sample/experiment area on Goshen’s Public Tree Inventory to calculate current economics of having those trees here to then calculate projected value.

• March 23 to April 3: Help determine what locations in Goshen are good places for specific types of trees to be planted by using the trees that were identified as being beneficial in the future.

• April 6 to April 17: Research on favorable trees to understand which soils, environments and conditions they prefer.

• April 20 to May 1: Use the U.S. soil database to determine where in Goshen the trees identified as favorable trees would be best planted.

• May 4 to May 15: Provide the city with a report including methodology, description of data, interpretation of data and conclusions of research, including demonstrations of data utilizing graphs, tables, etc.

According to the contract, Friesen’s work on the study is slated to be completed by May 15, with the potential to extend the work period to May 29.

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