• Start-up
  • Planning
  • Action
  • Evaluation
Goshen, Indiana, is working to enhance its tree canopy diversity and tree cover by 2045.

Project Area

2013 Urban Tree Canopy Assessment of Goshen, IN
Goshen is a small city (pop. 32,000) in northern Indiana. The City needs to raise awareness of the benefits of its urban forest – especially in a warming world – and needs its forest to grow and adapt.
The urban forest covers 22% of the city currently, and is at least 50% maple. The city is contemplating a 45% urban tree canopy goal by 2045 – 45 by 45; and they need to be well on their way to a diverse, climate adaptive species mix.

Management Goals

street lined with maple trees

The ultimate goal is to increase urban tree canopy by 45% by 2045. 

Specific objectives: 

1. Create and distribute informational tags prior to Arbor Day 2018 (6 months)

2. Increase diversity and balance species diversity toward 10%. Plant tree species from warmer climate zones. (25 years)

3. Partner with local organizations to develop tree planting projects on private lands. (2 years)

4. Establish and implement a tree preservation ordinance to better retain trees of maturity and manage large tree canopy tracts.


Climate Change Impacts

For this project, the most important anticipated climate change impacts include:
Warmer temperatures and changing precipitation patterns will dictate a change in forest species composition, likely impacting sugar maple, among others species.
The low species diversity of Goshen's urban forest will make it susceptible to pests and disease which take advantage of a warmer climate.
Goshen is likely to see increased heavy precipation events and drought events in the future.

Challenges and Opportunities

Climate change will present challenges and opportunities for accomplishing the management objectives of this project, including:


Climate change impacts may be greater and faster moving than anticipated, making it hard to keep pace with human aided species diversitification.
Some members of the public may not be accepting of climate change as an issue.
Stresses associated with climate change may increase mortality rates faster than we can adequately compensate for in order to build good, uneven-aged structure.


Climate change will favor new species from farther south, which could allow for greater diversity.
As more people accept the reality of climate change, they may be more receptive to mitigation efforts, and become willing to help out.
Climate change may help the city focus on the need to maintain and preserve mature trees for their many shade benefits, which will become more important at summers become warmer.

Adaptation Actions

Project participants used the Adaptation Workbook to develop several adaptation actions for this project, including:

Plant a diverse array of climate adapted native species - those which are currently in our ecosystem and some which are not yet.
Grow stock from locally important survivor individuals, in order to preserve genetic memory and potentially stronger gene suites.
Through regular planting, designed to increase overal species diversity, and to reach a goal of 45% canopy by 2045, we will achieve age and structural diversity as well.
Evaluate, maintain and protect mature trees in our urban forest, by ordinance, and through regular inspection.
Create prohibitive disincentives for removing woodland tracts in and around Goshen
Build regional relationships, convince local nurseries to carry stock from Woodywarehouse, increase our forest diversity.
Determine current native species which are most likely to handle climate change through use of the Climate Change Atlas, consulting Chicago Wilderness Region documents, and other sources.
Pass tree preservation ordinance which will require maintenance of salvageable trees after storms or other disturbances.


Project participants identified several monitoring items that could help inform future management, including:
Map location of whip and seedling tree plantings in TreeKeeper
Map locations of balled and burlapped trees in TreeKeeper.
Survival of whips and seedlings. Goal: 50% survival after 3 years.
Survival of balled and burlapped treesand larger plantings. Goal: 85% after 3 years.
Tree canopy assessments every 5 years. 25% by 2025, 30% by 2030, 35% by 2035, 40% by 2040, 45% by 2045.
Conduct informal surveys during each Arbor Day celebration of public awareness of tree benefits.

Learn More

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Genetic diversity
Management plan

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