Urban Forestry Part 5: Preserving Urban Forests Amid Residential Development Threat

Regen Network
4 min readAug 9, 2023

Preserving urban forests in the face of residential development is crucial for both protecting the environment and enhancing community well-being. As developers set their sights on these green spaces for construction, it is essential to recognize the multifaceted contributions they offer.

These verdant pockets of nature play a pivotal role in maintaining ecological balance within cities. Urban forests absorb carbon dioxide, mitigate air pollution, and provide a haven for biodiversity, thus contributing to cleaner air and healthier ecosystems. Their cooling effect counters the urban heat island phenomenon, alleviating the detrimental impacts of rising temperatures on human health and infrastructure.

These green spaces also serve the community as recreational retreats, as research underscores the positive impact of exposure to nature on mental health, stress reduction, and a sense of place and cultural identity. In the face of mounting pressures from residential development, it is important to understand these benefits and prioritize the integration of urban forest preservation into urban planning strategies. Fighting climate change starts in our own cities and towns.

Protecting Wildlife Corridors through the Brainbridge Forest Preservation Project

The Bainbridge Forest Preservation Project, situated in Bainbridge, Ohio, stands as a testament to the commitment of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to safeguarding and restoring essential natural ecosystems. With a focus on the preservation of a 32-acre forest, this project not only protects mature trees but also contributes to carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat provision, and the preservation of watershed and open spaces.

Encompassing 27.25 acres of the project area, the mature forest within the Bainbridge Forest Preservation Project boasts a diverse range of tree species, some of which have thrived for over a century. American beech, sugar maple, red maple, and tulip poplar are just a few examples of the vibrant flora that flourishes within this woodland. Nestled near a 797-acre conservation corridor, this forest serves as a vital ecosystem offering critical services such as carbon sequestration and stormwater protection. It also provides habitat for several State-listed bat species and neotropical birds, making it an irreplaceable haven amidst Northeast Ohio’s rapid development and forest loss.

Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Commitment to Preserving Urban Forests

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit land trust, the Western Reserve Land Conservancy has remained steadfast in its mission to conserve and restore the natural heritage of the Ohio region. With over 60,000 protected acres across 24 counties in northern and eastern Ohio, the Land Conservancy has played a vital role in preserving crucial ecosystems.

As part of its extensive land portfolio, the Western Reserve Land Conservancy holds 102 easements spanning over 8,000 acres in Geauga County alone. Given the intense development pressures in western Geauga County, the preservation of large-scale forests has become increasingly rare. The surrounding wooded lands are rapidly transforming into residential parcels, underscoring the urgency of preserving the remaining natural areas.

City Forest Credits Leading Urban Forest Preservation in the United States

City Forest Credits is the national standard for greenhouse gas emission reduction and removal for tree projects in cities and towns. Developed by leading scientists, industry, and urban forest professionals, and recently endorsed by ICROA, the City Forest Credits define the set of requirements that tree preservation, afforestation, and reforestation projects must follow in order to issue third-party verified carbon credits.

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