by W Elmendorf
Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 34(3):152–156.2008
Tree plantings, Arbor Day celebrations and other civic environmental projects can be fun and rewarding projects for those involved. However, the potential benefits of these events at the community level are largely overlooked by the professionals assisting with these events. For this study, the author conducted a literature review of the social benefits of trees and nature. The article discusses the concept of community and the idea of using tree plantings and other civic environmental projects to build and maintain a community. Sub-sections of the review include the definition of community, community development, trees and nature as social elements, nature and community development, and finally using trees and nature for community capacity. The literature shows that empowering people to get involved in community landscaping, maintenance, and park creation often leads to more social interaction, community capacity, and the development of community. The article concludes that tree plantings (and other civic environmental projects) can be used to promote healthy environments and build a sense of community, even in the most deteriorated neighborhoods.