Baltimore Green Space became aware of the need for more forest protection in 2012 when several neighbors reached out to us about protection of their forest patches. When we gathered with these neighbors and partner agencies, we hosted our first meeting of the Forest Stewardship Network that now governs all of the work we do with community leaders in neighborhood forest patches.
Ms. Mabel Smith, Ms. Henashena Hayes, and Mr. Charles Brown of Historic Wilson Park especially reached out to us in hopes that we could stop several lots of Wilson Woods from being cleared. We all believed something was in place in City government to protect their beloved forest. After researching regulations, we learned there was nothing to prevent the loss of the forest lots.
The total square footage of the lost Wilson Woods lots was under the 20,000 sqft trigger for the forest conservation regulations. As you can tell in photographs those lots were cleared. What you cannot see from photos is that the lots cleared are at least 10 degrees hotter every day of the year than those that remain forested.
Because of this loss, we conducted original research with the Baltimore Office of Sustainability and UMBC’s Dr. Matthew Baker, to learn that over 20% of Baltimore’s tree canopy is in forest patches outside of parks. We also produced our white paper on forest patches.
More than twenty percent of Baltimore’s tree canopy is in forested patches of at least 15,000 square feet outside parks. Since 2013, through research by Baltimore Green Space with the U.S. Forest Service and the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, and through research with other area nonprofits and by other scientists, the environmental and social importance of these forested areas has been established. We have surveyed 110 forest patches; 88 through a “walkabout” field survey and 45 with a scientific protocol.
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