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Scholarship on urban forests indicates that diverse greenspaces provide immigrant populations with important spaces within which to maintain their cultural identities. Modes of engagement in these spaces vary, but urban foraging represents one culturally significant mode for a number of sociocultural groups. While foraging is a ubiquitous practice, emerging research suggests that these cultural distinctions exist according to which species foragers predominantly harvest. However, it remains unclear whether or not these culturally significant species are accessible to the sociocultural groups that harvest them. To examine this question, we draw on interviews with New York City foragers who self-identify as Chinese or Chinese-American that identify ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) and mulberry (Morus spp.) trees as culturally significant species. To assess accessibility, we generated GIS hot spots of each species from the City’s street tree census, and assessed the overlap of these hot spots with neighborhood tabulation area (NTAs) with high percentages of residents who self-identify as Chinese or Chinese-American. Our results suggest that ginkgo street trees in Manhattan are highly accessible, while a subset of those in Brooklyn are moderately accessible, and a small subset in Queens are relatively inaccessible. These findings have implications for improving the equitability of management decisions.
Becker, Sarah, "Assessing the Accessibility of Culturally Significant Species in New York City, USA’s Urban Forest: Accessing Ginkgo biloba and Morus spp. Street Trees by Chinese Americans and Their Descendants" (2020). Environmental Studies Presentations. 2.
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