You are here: Home / Research Topics / Research Highlights / Individual Highlight

Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Scientists Assess Social Meaning of Jamaica Bay Region Parkland

Photo of Social assessment crew member interviews park user on Jamaica Bay. Joana Chan, USDA Forest ServiceSocial assessment crew member interviews park user on Jamaica Bay. Joana Chan, USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : The Jamaica Bay region of New York City is a focus of resiliency planning and adaptive management efforts. Working with natural resource managers and ecologists from the Natural Areas Conservancy and the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, Forest Service social scientists developed a method to assess the use and social meaning of parkland in the region. These social data will be integrated with ecological assessment data to inform management strategies and practices citywide.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Campbell, Lindsay K. Svendsen, Erika
Research Location : New York City
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 638

Summary

New York City's socially and ecologically diverse Jamaica Bay region, population approximately 900,000, became a focus of resiliency planning and adaptive management efforts following Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Working in partnership with the Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC) and NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), Forest Service scientists developed a rapid assessment methodology to understand the public use, social meaning, and stewardship potential of parks in the region. This study assessed the 2,140 acres of public parkland adjacent to the Bay that are managed by NYC Parks. The assessment is spatially explicit, scalable, and replicable so that natural resource managers can use it in adaptive management. The focus on speed and replicability enables managers to examine change in socio-cultural ecosystem services over time in the wake of both acute, large-scale disasters and other chronic forms of disturbance. This study will lead to park profiles, white papers, presentations, and datasets for managers. The pilot has been scaled up to a citywide study exploring the use and meaning of "natural areas" in parks. In the future, social data will be combined with citywide ecological assessment data to inform the conservation and management priorities of the NAC and NYC Parks.

Additional Resources

Reading the landscape, a reflection on method(publication)

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Nancy F. Sonti, Michelle L. Johnson
  • Bram Gunther, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Sarah Charlop-Powers, Helen Forgione, Clara Pregitzer, Natural Areas Conservancy