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Compendium of Best Urban Forest Management Practices

Chapter 17. Stormwater Management and Urban Forests


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Urban forests help reduce the quantity of storm water flows, soil erosion and stream sedimentation and help improve the quality of storm water runoff through absorption (Bernatzky 1983). Trees attenuate storm water in 3 ways: above ground through interception, evaporation and absorption of precipitation; at ground surface through temporary storage; and below ground through infiltration and permeation (Habecker 2004, PowerPoint presentation). Factors that influence the level of interception and evapotranspiration include tree species, stature, size and leaf area density. Increasing canopy cover is a simple way to help control stormwater runoff and reduce overall quantity.

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