Simulating the Influence of Urban Trees and Green Infrastructure on Ecosystem Services

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 5:15 PM
Theodore A Endreny1, Dave Nowak2 and Yang Yang1, (1)SUNY ESF, Syracuse, NY, United States, (2)US Forest Service Newtown Square, Newtown Square, PA, United States
Urban trees and vegetation based green infrastructure systems interact with the hydrologic cycle to affect each of the four categories of ecosystem services, known as: provisioning services (e.g., water availability); regulating services (e.g., water purification); cultural services (e.g., water-based recreation); and supporting services (e.g., water cycle to sustain ecosystems). There are several challenges to simulating these interactions, including development of mathematical functions to represent the biophysical processes, collecting data to satisfy model inputs, and structuring model output so it is relevant to urban stakeholders. We describe how the i-Tree tools, including Eco, Design, and Hydro, represent the structure-function relationships between urban vegetation and the four categories of ecosystem services. The talk focuses on new algorithms for tree - air temperature relations, tree – runoff velocity and timing, and tree – water quality relations, and invites discussion on needed improvements for better representing these ecosystem services.