Study: Genetic Diversity Low In Pittsburgh’s Urban Forest

SEP 18, 2017 

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

There’s a big red maple that’s about 75 years old standing just inside of the Beechwood Boulevard Gatehouse entrance to Frick Park.

It’s old enough that its genetic makeup is unique enough to have survived years of Pittsburgh’s pollution. Old enough too to wear a quarter-sized aluminum medallion, stamped with the number “434,” that marks it as part of a recent study that found a stunning and significant lack of genetic diversity among younger red maples, those under 50 years old, in the city’s urban landscape.

The study found that genetic diversity, a desirable trait, is much greater among wild red maples that grew from seeds, and much lower among the younger maples in city and county parks that were propagated in nurseries through cloning. It found a similar lack of genetic diversity among maples in Canadian nurseries... read the full article