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

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Applied Science

Organizational Unit

University College, Environmental Policy and Management


Environmental Policy & Mgmt

First Advisor

Kathy Flanagan


Climate change, Mistletoe, Parasitic behavior, Urban canopy


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.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.

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