Urban Forestry & Natural Resources


Provides research-based educational programs to Louisiana's agricultural industry - from farmers to commodity groups, agribusiness, food processors, and retailers. The programs address crop and livestock production systems that are profitable, sustainable, environmentally sound, and safe for limited resource farm families.

During the past several decades, the quality and quantity of urban and community natural resources have declined. A large portion of this decline can be attributed to the changing conditions of the urban and urban/rural interface terrestrial ecosystems because of demographic changes, and conversion from rural to urban uses, and the lack of cohesive and scientific information for the management and preservation of urban natural resources. This situation is further aggravated by the global changes that threaten our air, water and soil resources. In populations which are more concerned with environmental quality and aesthetic values in our living environment, there is an increasing demand to preserve and enhance urban forests and other natural resources.

Consequently, massive tree planting activities have taken place in recent years. The resulting massive planting may eventually be detrimental to the infrastructure of cities if sound management and preservation plans are not developed. This is particularly true in the south and southeastern United States where the economic development is on the upswing. Economic development and industrialization have given rise to elevated levels of carbon dioxide, air pollutants and particulates in our living environments. These air pollutants could subsequently and significantly result in global warming and rainfall pattern changes that pose potential problems to our urban natural resources.
 
Accompanied by our inability to accurately predict our future environment for urban dwellers, there is a need to develop strategic research initiatives to address the emerging issues and concerns, and the potential crisis facing the urban ecosystem. There is a need for sound land-use planning processes using state-of-the-art technology such as Knowledge-Based Expert System (KBES), Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) to curb land conversion and to mitigate the damaging effects created by environmental modifications. The development of database can display spatial information and generate thematic maps for spatial and temporal analyses critical to sound living environments. To understand our natural resource responses to global changes, air, water and soil pollution must be monitored.

To alleviate these potential problems, we must rely on research based information and technology. Research emphasis will continually be placed on natural resource management and the protection of urban forest health. The program hopes to provide innovative research information on environmentally friendly agricultural and natural resource management systems.

For the past decade, the Urban Forestry Program has conducted, to a limited extent, research on

  1. The ability of selected urban trees on the removal of O3, CO2, Nox and particular pollutants
  2. Gaseous exchange of selected urban tree species,
  3. The physiological responses of selected urban tree species to flooding, soil compaction and removal, and
  4. Cost and benefits of urban forests.
     
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