Claudia García-Ventura, Forestry engineer, PhD student belonging to the research group Building, Infrastructure and Projects in rural and environmental engineering of the Polytechnic University of Madrid. She is carrying out his work on methodologies of economic and hedonic valuation of urban trees.
She works actively in the working group of the Spanish Association of Parks and Public Gardens in the revision of the Norma Granada Method.
Professionally, she develops her career as tree technician on the Green Evaluation and Review Service (Server) of the Madrid City Council.
Urban trees are an important part of the heritage of cities, from a social, environmental and economic point of view. At present, there isn´t valuation methods that considers the opinion of technicians and citizens. Therefore, the objective is to analyze the opinion of a group of citizens about the characteristics that are most valued in urban trees, taking variables included in appraisal methods.
After analyzing the main methods of economic valuation, variables were taken and a survey was prepared. The objective is to know the importance that these variables have for citizens. The survey was developed with Google Forms and spread through social networks (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).
This survey included two parts: the first on socio-demographic variables; the second one with questions about the importance of the variables or characteristics of the trees, scoring from 1 (no importance) to 10 (maximum importance). Including six dendrometric variables, six intrinsic and extrinsic variables, eight functional variables and five economic variables.
After three months, 128 responses were obtained. The reliability of the questionnaire was analysed using Cronbach's Alpha, obtaining a value of 0.92, which allows the questionnaire as reliable. Descriptive statistical analysis shows that functional variables are better valued and there are hardly any significant differences in the answers neither by sex, nor by level of studies.
Citizens rate all characteristics with at least 5.5/10. Functional variables are valued almost 10% more than dendrometric variables and almost 25% than economic ones. On dendrometric variables, those related to the canopy and in the functional ones, the decrease of the pollution and the increase of the quality of life, are the most valued. As for the intrinsic, species and the vitality of the tree are valued similarly.
It will be considered to expand the sample in age, sex and level of studies to verify the hypotheses of the work.
Peter Duinker is Professor Emeritus at the School for Resource and Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University. With his students and research assistants, Peter and city staff prepared Halifax’s first Urban Forest Master Plan during 2010-2012. He continues his collaboration with the city by providing ongoing monitoring and research in support of plan implementation. Peter’s research on urban forests, with his students, addresses a broad range of topics including citizens’ values, planning, conservation of urban old-growth, naturalization of urban forests, effects of sub-division development on urban-forest biodiversity, establishment of urban orchards, street-tree spacing, trees on institutional lands, and others.
The growth of applications of i-Tree software around the world suggests a firm commitment to the utility of communicating ecosystem-services calculations to municipal decision-makers to garner their commitment and support for urban-forest management programs. i-Tree Eco, perhaps the most popular of the i-Tree tools, uses a statistical inventory of urban trees and a suite of conversion equations to calculate and subsequently monetize a range of ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, avoided runoff, and air-pollutant removal. A key uncertainty for us is the weight of evidence that municipal councillors actually use that information when faced with staff requests for increased or maintained budgets for urban-forest management. We are unaware of any rigorous evidence dealing with this uncertainty, nor can we address it because we also do not have the requisite data. But what we do know from several studies in Canada is that urban citizens, when asked what matters to them about trees in the city, identify other urban-forest values far more readily than the biophysical ecosystem services. We have asked urban citizens in the Canadian cities of Calgary, Winnipeg, Fredericton, and Halifax to identify what is important to them about trees in the city. Overwhelmingly, their responses centre on psycho-social values such as physical comfort (shade), sense of place, appeal to the senses, and feelings of wellbeing. On the premise that municipal councillors are responsive to the citizens they represent, we hypothesize that the qualitative, incalculable tree values should be significantly profiled when municipal staff make appeals for money for aggressive urban-forest improvements. Studies of biophysical ecosystem services of urban forests should be paralleled with social surveys (e.g., interviews, online surveys, interception surveys) so municipal staff can broaden the palette of persuasive arguments for robust urban-forest management budgets.
Janani Sivarajah, MFC, PhD., is an urban forest ecology, urban greening, and plant biology researcher, educator, and consultant. Her transdisciplinary research explores the environmental services of urban trees for human well-being, including UV protection and mediation of ultraviolet exposure by urban trees. Over the years, her research focus has broadened to find greening solutions to improve urban areas for people. She is a member of the Toronto Cancer Prevention Coalition, Shade Policy Steering Committee, President of the Ontario Urban Forest Council, member of the Ontario Professional Foresters Association, and Lecturer at the Graduate Department of Forestry, University of Toronto.
Human exposure to green space and vegetation is widely recognized to result in physical and mental health benefits; however, to date, the specific effects of tree cover, diversity, and species composition on student academic performance have not been investigated. We compiled standardized performance scores in Grades 3 and 6 for the collective student body in 387 schools across the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and related these test scores to tree cover, tree diversity, and tree species composition based on comprehensive inventories of trees on school properties combined with aerial-photo-based assessments of tree cover. Socio-economic factors had the greatest influence on standardized test scores; however, tree cover, distinct from other types of “green space” was found to be a significant positive predictor of student performance. The effects of tree cover and species composition were most pronounced in schools that showed the highest level of external challenges, suggesting the importance of urban forestry investments in these schools.
I am an Assistant Professor of Urban Forestry at the University of British Columbia. My research focuses on urban forestry and socio-ecological interactions in cities, with an emphasis on equity, human health, and climate change. I am currently examining (1) urban green equity, intersectionality and green gentrification; (2) experiences of women in urban forestry and arboriculture; (3) the relationship between greenness exposure and public health outcomes in urban environments, with a focus on spatio-temporal metrics and climate change; and (4) urban forest governance and resilience to social and ecological stresses.
There is a widespread acknowledgement that urban forests provide a myriad of benefits to city-dwellers around the world. Emphasis has been placed on quantifying these benefits as a means to understand them as well as provide a rationale for urban forest management. Efforts have also been made to understand how people perceive urban trees beyond the dollar value of their ability to manage stormwater or increase property values. These personal valuations and perceptions can be influenced by sociodemographic factors such as gender, age, income, education, and more.
However, sociodemographic variables are not the only factors that can influence how the urban forest is perceived and valued by residents. This presentation will examine how contextual elements such as a person’s immediate surroundings, cultural setting, and ownership affect their valuation and perception of trees using datasets collected in Halifax, Canada and Malmö, Sweden.
Comparing results from surveys conducted in cemeteries and on sidewalks highlights that an individual’s immediate surroundings can influence what it is they value most about trees. Further, comparisons between cemetery managers in Canada and Sweden suggest that available resources and cultural differences can influence whether trees are viewed more as a burden or an asset. Finally, examining the differences between the opinions of cemetery users and cemetery managers indicates that responsibility for trees results in a more cautious—and sometimes negative—perception of urban trees.
Overall, this study highlights that although trees provide a wide variety of benefits enjoyed by city-dwellers, they are not always valued in the same way or to the same extent. Instead, values and perceptions of the urban forest can be greatly influenced by the context in which they are situated. This has implications for how we manage our urban forests and how we garner support for future urban forestry initiatives.
Jo is the Education, Skills and Training Manager for The Orchard Project with 15 years’ experience of teaching at all levels, including primary level. She teaches on and runs the accredited Certificate in Community Orcharding and also helps run the forest garden project in Finsbury Park, Edible Landscapes London, which she set up 10 years ago.
Orchards are fantastic places for learning with ways into all parts of the national curriculum and beyond. The Orchard Project strongly supports bringing children into orchards as a way of connecting with nature and with the cultural heritage that is wrapped up in the history of orchards and in our diversity of fruit cultivars. We also want to help schools find ways to deliver learning outcomes in the great outdoors, using some fun and practical activities. We identified a range of schools in London that had orchards located near them and we developed a set of lesson plans and resources that would help create a long-term connection between the schools and ‘their’ orchards. We’d like to share what we learned from the three-year project.
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