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Climate Change Research in Central Park

Aerial view of Central Park in New York City

Jermaine Ee/Unsplash.com

The Central Park Conservancy, the Yale School of the Environment and the New York City-based Natural Areas Conservancy are launching the Central Park Climate Lab, a new initiative and climate partnership to study the impacts of climate change on urban parks. Their mission is to work with cities across the country to improve urban park mitigation and adaptation to climate change. New York City Mayor Eric Adams states, “The Central Park Climate Lab begins a new era in research and cooperation that will give our park professionals improved tools to combat the climate crisis, and it will be a model for urban parks across the country.”

Because around 55 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, the program will use mapping tools to develop interventions and protect urban parkland. With no national standard in place for characterizing and mapping it, the ability to identify broader climate solutions is limited. Research will begin in Central Park and then other New York City greenspaces before expanding to more parks. The data collected will be used to create new, scalable strategies and protocols. Elizabeth W. Smith, president and CEO of the Central Park Conservancy, says, “Severe weather events such as unprecedented rainfall, blizzards, high winds and extreme heat and cold, strain resources and impact Central Park’s tree canopy, plants and wildlife.”


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