by RF Young, EG McPherson

Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 9:313-321


The value of ecosystem services provided by the urban forest is increasingly being recognized. This study surveyed municipal foresters in the United States to determine their perception of ecosystem services and the extent to which they consider them in their work. The membership of the Society of Municipal Arborists was surveyed regarding the extent of the resources they manage (large and small parks, cemeteries, grounds of public buildings, natural areas, rights of way), the importance they attributed to a variety of objectives  (e.g., beautification, enhancing public health or recreation, and specific ecosystem services), and changes in those levels of importance over the previous 5 years.  About three-quarters of respondents indicated that managing trees to provide ecosystem services is a significant objective of their department currently and they expect it to increase in importance in the future. They expected traditional social outputs like beautification and enhancing public health to remain priorities, but activities such as protection of power lines to decline in importance. Among the most highly rated activities in terms of ecosystem services were planting trees to shade impervious surfaces to reduce the urban heat island effect, planting long-lived species to sequester carbon, maintaining wetlands to improve water quality, and managing species choices to improve biodiversity.

Region: United States
Publication Type: Journal article
Keywords: biodiversity, carbon sequestration, ecosystem services, governance, surveys and interviews, urban forest management, urban forestry, and urban heat island