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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Environmental Conservation

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Changing temperature and precipitation patterns are causing degraded soil, water, and air quality which is negatively affecting the safety and health of people, and the productivity of urban and rural communities. However, research shows that implementing urban forests and cover crops into urban and rural landscapes, respectively, can mitigate these effects by providing ecosystem services. As extreme precipitation and heat events continue to intensify, there is a need for comprehensively assessing these ecosystem services under changing climates and for this information to be easily accessible by communities for rapid land-use decision making. Therefore, I investigated the role of urban forests and cover crops in enhancing resilience to climate change through 1. a comprehensive review of the urban forest and cover crop ecosystem services in relation to climate change impacts, 2. modeling ecosystem services in Massachusetts using spatially-explicit techniques for an online decision support tool and 3. a comprehensive review of climate change health impacts in urban communities and the restorative and protective properties of urban forests in relation to these impacts. The outputs of this thesis inform community members, agencies, city planners, the medical community, and urban forestry project leaders of the benefits and challenges of planting urban trees and cover crops in Massachusetts as a way to improve the productivity of lands and the well-being of people. In addition, the review articles and the decision support tool can be used by communities to guide preparation for and adaptation to the impacts of climate change including medical provider and patient education, optimizing occupational, residential, and educational settings, and resource distribution.


First Advisor

Timothy Randhir

Second Advisor

David Bloniarz

Third Advisor

Raphael Arku

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.