by GS Seamans
Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 12(1):2-112013
The perception of the value of street trees has changed over the years from a focus on aesthetics and beautification to a focus on the provision of environmental benefits. Here, the case study approach was applied to three California urban forestry nonprofits in Sacramento (the Sacramento Tree Foundation), Palo Alto (Canopy), and San Francisco (Friends of the Urban Forest) to better understand how this change has occurred and what role the nonprofit organizations have played. The main sources were nonprofit newsletters, newspaper articles, planning documents, and interviews. The results showed that there has indeed been a clear increase in the number of references to the ecological benefits of urban forests. The role of the nonprofit in this reframing was less clear and differed across the cities. There was widespread agreement that scientific research, particularly the work of McPherson’s team at the US Forest Service has been critical in this transformation.