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Richard Boase

    FLASHBACK TO 2012: “Given the huge knowledge bases that the sciences have built up around the hydrology of urban watersheds, it can come as a surprise when we realize how little is known about some of the basics. The urban tree canopy is an example,” stated (the late) Dr. Charles Rowney, Scientific Authority, when the Partnership for Water Sustainability announced the addition of a Tree Canopy Module to the Water Balance Model


    “Tree canopy interception of rainfall is a technical area where the fundamentals are well understood, but the empirical basis, the availability of actual observations, is still in its infancy. When it comes to the urban canopy, we just don’t have a lot to go on. Considering the importance of urban trees, we’re not sure why this knowledge gap has persisted. But when we began our research, it quickly became clear that there is a lot to learn about some of things that are important in dealing with the tree canopy. And it became just as clear that we had to improve the science,” stated the late Dr. Charles Rowney.

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    URBAN TREES AS A RAINWATER MANAGEMENT TOOL: “We found that individually planted trees capture, store and release stormwater back into the atmosphere—a process called transpiration—at a rate three times that of trees in a forest,” stated doctoral candidate Sarah Ponte, Department of Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland (November 2021)


    “We explored how trees function in different urban contexts, from streets to small patches of forest. This is knowledge that can help support the management of green infrastructure,” stated Sarah Ponte. “Understanding how different management contexts affect urban ecohydrologic fluxes, such as transpiration, can aid the development of policy on the application and effectiveness of urban tree canopy as a tool for stormwater runoff reduction at watershed and city scales,”

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