Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Geography and Geology

Document Type



Urban forestry is an environmental solution for an increasingly city-centered world. The ecosystem services that trees provide in natural settings, including carbon sequestration, oxygen production and aesthetic beauty, also apply in urban settings. Every tree in the Western Kentucky University (WKU) urban forest provides these services and each tree was measured to determine how much carbon they sequestered a year on average between 2015 and 2020. With an interactive map of the forest and its carbon sequestration, the condition of the forest and change over the five year period was analyzed. Comparing the welfare of the forest with the plans and management strategies of WKU produced an understanding of the effectiveness of the WKU tree care policies. Consistent construction was found to be the main obstacle to growth of the forest and the main cause of tree loss. A lack of communication between departments was found to be the main barrier between the tree care plan and its realization.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Leslie North, Ph.D.


Environmental Sciences | Forest Sciences | Geographic Information Sciences | Geography