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Adaptation actions are currently being implemented in reforestation efforts.

The Village of Riverside is a National Historic Landmark due to its landscape design, created by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1869. The residents of the community value its landscape and urban tree canopy. The Emerald Ash Borer infestation has cause a significant increase in tree mortality throughout the Village. A reforestation program has been implemented to replace 11% canopy loss that will anticipate the potential impacts of climate change in addition to other challenges associated with our urban environment.

Project Area

Aerial view of the Village of Riverside
Riverside is a residential community, located 9 miles southwest of Chicago. The land is approximately 2 square miles or 280 acres with 75 acres of green space. The Des Plaines River runs the southern border of the Village, creating natural areas, in additional to many park and parkways throughout the town. Due to the early development of the landscape, there is minimal soil disturbance and opportunities for ecological restoration and reforestation.

Management Goals

The Village of Riverside is implementing a reforestation program that will mitigate losses associated with emerald ash borer in parks, parkways and natural areas within the community.  In conjunction, the Village has goals to continue to develop and improve their tree planting cost share program, to engage the community following reforestation, and provide educational opportunities.
The Village will incorporate the following objectives to acheive their goals:
Increase species diversity
Increase climate adaptability
Increase disease and insect resistance
Increase native species composition
Increase resident/ volunteer interaction with planting site to educate and engage the community

Climate Change Impacts

For this project, the most important anticipated climate change impacts include:
Increase in the duration and frequency of drought conditions
Increase in the frequency of flooding and severe weather
Increase in invasive species
Increase in pollution levels related to air quality
Increased tree mortality due to shifting climate conditions

Challenges and Opportunities

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


Climate-adapted species are not always available from local nurseries
Maintenance of tree plantings during drought conditions
Site disturbance associated with extreme weather events
Control of invasive species in restoration sites
Cost associated with tree mortality


Planting new tree species from southern hardiness zones
Use of disease and insect resistant cultivars
Increase in available planting site to increase species diversity
Increase public awareness related to urban forests

Adaptation Actions

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

Planting native species (various species of oak)
Planting understory and shrub layers to buffer climate extremes
Preserve existing mature trees (mulching, watering, tree protection)
Planting insect and or disease resistant cultivars (Accolade elm, London Plaintree)
Develop watering program and outreach to residents with new parkway trees
Establish and encourage a mix of new native species
Disfavor species that are distinctly maladapted (various species of maple)
Planting tree species from southern hardiness zones (Pecan, Bald Cypress, Catalpa)


Project participants identified several monitoring items that could help inform future management, including:
Survey for tree mortality, invasive species, and natural regeneration in restoration areas, parkways and parks.
Evaluate resident and volunteer participation in planting program.

Next Steps

The Village continues to plant and maintain trees while incorporating these strategies.


Insect pests

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