A Forest Management Plan for Crotona Park, Bronx

Investigator:

Kyla Dahlin: F & ES

Advisors: Florencia Montagnini and Mark Ashton

Description:

Crotona Park is a 127 acre park located in the south Bronx - it is the largest park in the south Bronx and the sixth largest park in the borough. For 120 years Crotona has been an important community center for the Bronx and has persisted through the area's many highs and lows. In 1977 U.S. President Jimmy Carter visited the park to discuss urban renewal, but instead showed the rest of the country a picture of urban decay - abandoned cars filled the 3.3 acre lake and gangs of men and packs of "wild" dogs roamed the lawns. In the early 1980s President Reagan visited the park and described it as "worse than the London Blitz."

However, in 1996 a dedicated group of people, the Friends of Crotona Park, banded together to improve and preserve this historic area. It was through their efforts that Crotona was named one of the three parks in New York City to be in the "Pilot Urban Forestry and Mapping" project (along with Fort Greene Park, in Brooklyn, and Baisley Pond Park, Queens) by NYC's Parks & Recreation's Central Forestry & Horticulture department. The goals of this project are to produce an accurate, interactive GIS for each park, to compile the available historical data (both human and natural) for the parks, and to draft 10-year management plans based on the needs of the parks and their users.

I spent June and July working at Central Forestry under the guidance of Jennifer Greenfeld (F&ES, 1991?). As a summer intern I surveyed all of the trees in Crotona Park using a Trimble Pathfinder® Pro XR receiver with a GIS TSCe™ datalogger, giving (hopefully) sub-meter accuracy (there are around 2,600 trees). On rainy days I compiled all the available historical data on the park. I expect my final plan to consist of three main parts - the history of the park, the survey data (maps, graphs, etc.), and suggestions for future management. The GIS portion of this project is essential as it will a.) produce a comprehensive, current map of the trees in the park (no such map exists now); b.) create a digital record of past and current plantings (I have digitized planting maps from the 1930s and 1970s) which will be updatable and searchable; c.) facilitate better tree management in the park; and d.) serve as an example for other parks in NYC and elsewhere of using technology to help make more objective management decisions.

I intend to use a variety of imagery including aerial photography and Digital Ortho Quarter Quads. High resolution satellite images will also be considered if funds are available.

This plan will also serve as my Masters project for the completion of a Masters in Environmental Management degree in May, 2004.



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11 September 2003