THE URBAN JUNGLE

Forests in New York City are not only surviving, but are actually thriving! Find out how in this episode that is a part of our ongoing Peril and Promise series of reports on the human impact of, and solutions for, climate change.

Aired on May 9, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

> I'M DOUGLAS FORD FOR METROFOCUS.

WHEN YOU THINK OF THE NEW YORK YOU MIGHT THINK OF THE COMMUTE OR THE SKY LINE BUT IT'S MORE TO NEW YORK CITY THAN BROIKS AND CONCRETE.

WE ARE SURROUNDED BY 10,000 ACRES OF FOREST LAND, MORE THAN 10 TIMES THE SIZE OF CENTRAL PARK.

AS AN ADDED BONUS MOST OF THE LAND IS OWNED BY THE CITY.

CONSERVATIONISTS SAY THE FOREST IS IN BETTER HEALTH THAN THOUGHT.

AND THAT COULD CHANGE.

AS PART OF THE MULTIPLATFORM MULTIPERIL INITIATIVE WHICH EXPLORES THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE WE LOOK AT AFFECT AND OUR AREA AND THE CONSERVATIONISTS FIGHTING FOR THE FUTURE OF THE FOREST.

MORE THAN 500 TREES WERE LOST IN HURRICANE SANDY, TREES LIKE 100 YEARS OLD.

THE THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE A AREN'T HAPPENING HERE IN NEW YORK CITY AND RESHAPING THE FORESTS.

IT'S A HUGE PART OF OUR EFFORT, THE STORM THAT I MENTIONED HURRICANE SANDY, YOU SEE MORE AND MORE OF THOSE, QUICK, DEVASTATING STORMS AND THE IMPACT IS TREMENDOUS ESPECIALLY IN THE WOODLANDS.

WHAT HAPPENS IS WE LOSE SEVERAL MATURE TREES, OPENING UP THE CANOPY.

ALLOWS FOR INVASIVE SPECIES TO TAKE OVER.

IT'S A CONSTANT PROCESS OF REBUILDING RESTORING, REJUF NATION.

WE ARE ACTIVELY EVERY DAY LOOKING TO BOLSTER THE FOREST DEAL WITH THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

IT'S A BIG PASTOR WORK THE LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES GROUP IS DEALING WITH.

CONSERVATIONIST SOUND THE ALARM CLIMATE CHANGE IS HERE AND COMBATTING THE EFFECTS IS A PRIORITY.

THAT'S THE BAD NEWS.

GOOD NEWS, THE CITY PARKS ARE IN EXCELLENT SHAPE NOW BUT THAT COULD CHANGE.

SO IN SOME WAYS WE'RE A SITUATION SIMILAR TO SUBWAYS TWO DECADES AGO WHEN THINGS RAN ON TIME.

AND PERHAPS IF WE MADE MORE OF AN INVESTMENT THEN WE WOULD HAVE BEEN A ABLE TO BY PASS SOME OF THE CHALLENGES HAPPENING NOW.

WE ARE HOPING INVESTMENT IN FORESTS TODAY HELP US MAINTAIN GOOD HEALTH

CONSERVATIONISTS ARE UNDER YOU CAN SOUNDING THE ALARM.

THE PRIORITY HAS TO BE COMBATTING CLIMATE CHANGE.

THE GOOD NEWS THE CITY PARKS ARE IN EXCELLENT SHAPE NOW BUT THAT COULD CHANGE.

NEW YORK CITY SITS RIGHT AT THE INTERSECTION OF THE MID-ATLANTIC AND NEW ENGLAND.

AND WE'RE EXPERIENCING THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE HERE MORE QUICKLY THAN SOME OF OUR SURROUNDING AREAS.

WE'RE VERY INTERESTED IN THINKING ABOUT HOW -- WHAT GROWS HERE WILL SHIFT OVER TIME AND WE'VE BEEN DOING A PROJECT LOOKING AT THE TREES AND SHRUBS THAT SURVIVE IN NEW YORK CITY AND WHAT'S LIKELY TO SURVIVE IN THE NEXT 50 TO 100 YEARS.

AND SHIFTING SOME OF WHAT GETS PLANTED

CERTAIN PLANT SPECIES ARE PREDICTED TO DO WELL OR HOLD THEIR OWN.

OTHERS ARE PREDICTED NOT DO WELL.

FOR EXAMPLE, SUGAR MAPLE IS PREDICTED TO NOT DO WELL AS CLIMATE CHANGE CONTINUES THE WAY IT'S GOING.

AND WE THINK THAT THE NATURAL RANGE OF THIS TREE IS GOING TO RECEDE NORTH.

MOST OF THE OAK AND HICKORY SPECIES ARE PREDICTED TO HANDLE IT WELL.

THAT INFORMATION CAME FROM A STUDY FROM THE NATURAL AREA CONSERVECY AND NEW YORK CITY PARKS DEPARTMENT AND PART OF A LARGER PLAN TO HARDEN THE CITY FOREST AND PARKLAND AGAINST THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

IT'S DUBBED THE FOREST MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK FOR NEW YORK CITY.

THE REPORT SAYS $385 MILLION WILL BE NEEDED OVER THE NEXT 25 YEARS TO KEEP THE FOREST IN GOOD HEALTH.

. FOR BRESKT ALBANY PROOFED NEARLY $1.0 BILLION TO FIX THE SUBWAYS IN ONE YEAR.

I CAN'T UNDERESTIMATE THE NEED FOR PAID STAFF.

WORKING WITH PAID STAFF WHO CAN PUT IN FULL WORKDAYS AND CAN REALLY LOG AND MAINTAIN KIND OF RECORDS OF HOW SITES ARE CHANGING OVER TIME IS EXTREMELY CRUCIAL.

THE PARK ALLIANCE IN BROOKLYN AND THE FOREST PARK TRUST IN QUEENS ARE TWO OF DOZENS OF NON-PLOFT BROSTING HELPING TO MAINTAIN THE PARKS AND FORESTS, ALSO THE FIRST TO BEGIN ON WORK ON MORE DETAILED DATA COLLECTION THROUGH THE PROGRAM.

WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT THAT AND WE'LL BE ABLE TO UTILIZE SOME OF THE LONG-TERM DATA THAT HAS BEEN COLLECTED REGARDING FORESTRY MANAGEMENT IN NEW YORK CITY.

AND THIS WILL REALLY BETTER ENABLE US TO INTEGRATE WITH KIND OF NEW YORK CITYWIDE MANAGEMENT PLAN OF FOREST RESTORATION, INVASIVE REMOVAL, DEALING WITH GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE, ET CETERA.

REMOVAL OF INVASIVE PLANTS IS MENTIONED QUIT A BIT.

THAT'S BECAUSE IT'S A CRITICAL PART OF KEEPING THE FOREST HEALTHY.

BECAUSE IN NATURE IT'S LIFE AND DEATH AND INVASIVE PLANTS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS AS INCREASING CHANCE FOR SURVIVAL.

IT GROWS QUICKLY.

IT STARTS COMING UP BEFORE OTHER PLANTS COME UP AND SHADES THEM OUT.

IN THE GUYS OF GARLIC MUSTARD AND CERTAIN ONES IT CAN A PATHIC WHERE IT'S POISONING THE GROUND AROUND IT TO KEEP OTHER PLANTS AWAY.

AND YOU KNOW WHAT YOU GET IS LEFT UNCHECKED YOU'LL GET A FIELD OF GARLIC MUSTARD WHICH YOU KNOW WILL OUTCOMPETE, YOU KNOW, DOZENS OF SPECIES OF NATIVE PLANTS.

THE WORK TO MAINTAIN THE FOREST IS ALSO FOR NEW YORKERS QUALITY OF LIFE.

THE TREES AND PARKS PROVIDE THE CITY WITH FRESH HAIR AND KEEP TEMPERATURES LOWER IN THE SWELTERRING HEAT.

BUT IT'S ALSO A PLACE OF FRUM.

HALF OF THOSE SURVEY SURVEYED IN THE REPORT SAYS THEIR EXPERIENCE WITH NATURE A HAPPENS NO NEW YORK CITY PARKS.

THE ENTIRE EXPERIENCE OF PLAYING SPORTS, SPENDING TIME OUTSIDE, TAKING A HIKE WITH THE FAMILY, ALL OF THIS ACTIVITY IS HAPPENING IN THE LOCAL PARKS OR THEY'RE NOT HAPPENING AT ALL.

SO WE KNOW THAT SPENDING TIME IN NATURE IS REALLY IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE.

IT'S GOOD FOR COMMUNITIES.

IT'S GREAT FOR KIDS.

AND HAVING THESE OPPORTUNITIES NOT JUST IN NATURE BUT IT'S HELPING BEAUTIFUL SPECTACULAR NATURE IN THE URBAN CONTEXT IS SO IMPORTANT.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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