Title

The Impact of Mistletoe on Urban Canopy and the Effect of Climate Change on Mistletoe Parasitic Behavior

Date of Award

11-9-2010

Document Type

Capstone Project

Disciplines

Environmental Policy & Mgmt

Degree Name

Master of Applied Science

Department

Environmental Policy & Mgmt

Advisor

Kathy Flanagan

Keywords

climate change; mistletoe; parasitic behavior; urban canopy

Abstract

Mistletoe parasitic behavior can significantly impact urban canopy, especially because climate change is expected to cause favorable conditions that may promote aggressive growth, reproduction and dispersal of this often overlooked parasite. This study found an occurrence frequency of 6.3 percent and an infection rate of 26.7 percent among host trees. These results are comparable to other mistletoe studies based in non-urban areas. When the findings were applied to Nowak and Greenfield's (2010) estimated number of urban trees in California, roughly four million trees fell into the infected category. The potential impact of mistletoe on urban canopy could undermine the tree planting efforts of urban forest managers and planning developers to mitigate the effects of climate change on urban environments.

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