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Philadelphia Parkland Forest Management Framework

With its emphasis on natural resources planning and green infrastructure, the City of Philadelphia is ahead of many municipalities in efforts to protect and enhance the natural resources in its system of parks. Philadelphia’s 5,600 acres of parkland forest have benefited from years of preservation, enhancement and restoration. However, in order to maintain a healthy urban forest additional efforts are needed. After a history of significant deforestation and land conversion in the region, there has been an extended period of forest re-growth, including invasion by nonnative species. In an effort to help the City’s Parks and Recreation Department (PP&R) bolster its ability to plan, acquire funding for, and effectively manage parkland forest resources in the face of emerging challenges and competing demands, Biohabitats developed a Parkland Forest Management Framework.

Biohabitats team began by reviewing existing plans and data, and assessing forest needs based on site visits and detailed GIS analysis. Based on the findings, Biohabitats developed the Philadelphia Parkland Forest Restoration Framework, a plan to guide long-term, holistic management of the City’s parkland forest resources.

The plan addresses resource conditions in need of ecological enhancement, restoration and management, and provides recommendations and strategies to protect, maintain and restore parkland forests for the benefit of the citizens of Philadelphia and the surrounding region.

Unique strategies proposed include adaptive management through techniques such as deer exclosures, tree plantings, stream restoration, improved trail connections, parkway connectivity, invasive species management; innovative pilot projects such as the creation of a public food forest. The framework, which integrates stewardship throughout, also provides publicly accessible documentation of PP&R’s approach to and rationale for park forest management.

Project Profile (PDF)