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Project Desert Canopy: Air Quality in Southwest Forests

Project Summary

A multi-state project funded by the USDA Forest Service to conduct urban forestry ecosystem services assessments in partnering communities. This project utilized i-Tree Eco to capture baseline data that may be used to assist communities to develop municipal and regional planning goals and implement strategies that address regional attainment of federal air quality standards. Four communities (Phoenix, AZ; Albuquerque, NM; Las Cruces, NM and El Paso, TX) located in regions at-risk of not meeting federal air quality standards partnered in this effort to complete assessments. This project aligned a diversity of committed partners and programs in the arena of southwest green infrastructure, and was focused on improving environmental health and community livability. This project was also initiated as a comparison to similar research that has been conducted in other parts of the country. Through this project, tools and other products are made available to assist Southwestern communities in their efforts to improve community livability. This project addressed community priorities identified in Statewide Forest Action Plans for Arizona, New Mexico and Texas: (1) Recognition of ecosystem services provided by forests; and (2) Implementation of strategies that improve community health and address environmental health factors.

Project Goals

  1. Produce community forest assessments in four targeted municipalities that quantify current ecosystem services being provided (including improved air quality, energy conserved, carbon sequestered, and much more);
  2. Develop and implement municipal goals, planning tools and community forest strategies (planning, development and management) that are recognized by environmental regulators as mitigating factors for air quality;
  3. Develop planning tools and outreach materials and use these tools through traditional and non-traditional partnership forums to increase awareness and develop similar projects and efforts throughout the Southwest and the United States.

This project involved extensive collaboration with municipal, state and federal partners to develop agreed-upon sampling strategies; data analysis and reports; results distribution/dissemination; and in the creation of outreach materials. Community reports and additional information are provided as links below.

Project Partners: Arizona State Forestry, City of Phoenix, New Mexico EMNRD Forestry Division, City of Albuquerque, City of Las Cruces, Texas A&M University Forest Service, and the City of El Paso.

Public Information Dissemination Partner: Arizona State University/ Sustainable Cities Network, Julie Anne Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability

More information

www.desertcanopy.org

Brochure and Fact Sheets

Reports