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Street tree survival rates: Meta-analysis of previous studies and application to a field survey in Philadelphia, PA, USA

Authors: 
Roman, L. A., Scatena, F. N.
Year: 
2 011
Source: 
Urban Forestry & Urban Greening
Abstract: 
Low street tree survival rates and the resulting short lifespans are frequently discussed but inadequately quantified in urban forestry literature. This study addresses street tree survival rates with a meta-analysis of previous literature and a case study assessment of street trees in Philadelphia, USA 2-10 years after planting. Reported survivorship rates from 16 previous studies were compiled. Estimated annual survival rates for individual past studies were mostly above 91.0%. To estimate the annual street tree survival rate across multiple studies, a subset of previous studies was pooled for regression analysis of In transformed cumulative survivorship vs. time since planting. Lifespan metrics were estimated using the annual survival rates determined from regression analysis. Based on the meta-analysis, we estimated that street tree annual survival rates ranged from 94.9 to 96.5%, and street tree population half-life ranged from 13 to 20 years. Estimated mean life expectancy ranged from 19 to 28 years, which is considerably longer than the 7- or 13-year street tree average lifespan reported in previous studies. Estimated annual survival rates and lifespan metrics were similar in the Philadelphia case study. Urban forest researchers are encouraged to use demographic concepts and analyses in the study of tree survival and mortality, and to monitor tree survival at repeated time intervals every few years. (C) 2011 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

Department of Earth and Environmental Science / University of Pennsylvania, 251 Hayden Hall, 240 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6316