Trees in the wild forest face the risk of mechanical injury from many sources including natural shedding of branches, canopy loss from storm breakage, and stem injury from fire. Trees in the urban and community forest face many of these same threats and more. Trees are uniquely suited to handle repeated injury through biological processes of compartmentalization, closure, and responsive growth. We will explore how tree care practices may help or hinder these critical protective features and defensive processes.
Kevin T. Smith is a plant physiologist and project leader with the USDA Forest Service in Durham, New Hampshire. Smith’s research centers on the effects of environmental disturbance on tree biology, especially tree growth and the response of trees to injury and infection. Part of this research involves understanding how trees survive, grow, and die in the stressful urban environment. Research tools include dendrochronology, forest pathology, and biological chemistry. Smith has received national awards for research excellence, is an Affiliate Professor of Plant Biology at the University of New Hampshire, and has authored more than 50 publications in scientific journals, book chapters, and magazine articles.