Emory Report
April 16, 2007
Volume 59, Number 27

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April 16, 2007
Miniforests to grow near new School of Medicine building

by Kelly gray

Look for a new miniforest to take root this summer on Clifton Road.

Emory faculty, staff and students are scheduled to move into the newly completed Evans Medical Education and Research building in mid June. The building will be home to Emory School of Medicine and was constructed in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design guidelines for new construction.

The building will offer new facilities and open its doors to lush vegetation and trees in accordance with the University’s No Net Loss of Forest Canopy policy.

Emory is committed to preserving its natural habitat and forested woodlands: In 2001 the University developed a No Net Loss policy to ensure no overall loss of forest canopy due to construction or renovation of buildings. Additionally, this policy helps to increase both the quality and quantity of forested areas on campus.

Forest canopy is defined as ground shading made by branches and leafy tree foliage

“The No Net Loss replacement requirement for the School of Medicine project includes 83 trees and the University anticipates planting as many trees as possible on site,” said James Johnson, project manager with Campus Planning and creator of the No Net Loss of Forest Canopy policy. “Any trees that cannot be planted on site will be credited to the tree bank.”

When trees cannot be replanted immediately the funds go into a tree bank for future plantings. Tree bank funds can be taken from one project budget and spent in other designated wooded areas on campus.

In compliance with the policy, 19 trees were moved from Turman Residential to be relocated and planted on the School of Medicine site. “These 19 trees would have to be removed when demolition work begins on the Turman site this summer. The relocation allows many trees to be saved that would have otherwise been lost and also provides a more mature landscape for the School of Medicine,” said Johnson.

In addition to the No Net Loss policy, Emory is working on a forest-restoration plan that will map the places on campus where miniforests can be planted. The forest-restoration plan will construct miniforests among clusters of buildings where it will be environmentally sound for the trees’ long-term growth. Recently, new forest canopy was planted on the North Decatur Road of the Emory Law School and on Clifton Road near the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.

The policy also includes calculations to determine the appropriate replacement tree canopy. “Our goal is to plant enough new trees so that we meet or exceed the previous tree canopy,” said Ciannat Howett, Emory’s director of sustainability initiatives.

Last fall, Howett and others boarded a helicopter to get a birds-eye perspective of the entire campus. The flyover was done to map out and establish a baseline for vegetation. “We looked at mature canopy trees and ground foliage then developed a list of native species that can be included in the reforestation plan,” said Howett.