Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Managing our urban forest : what do officials and managers think and need? A case study from the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area Public Deposited

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  • Urban forests are fundamental to the health and sustainability of urban communities. In 2012, the U.S. Forest Service launched the Vibrant Cities, Urban Forests: A National Call to Action initiative which posed a variety of recommendations to advance urban forest management and programs throughout the country. In response to that initiative, the Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan Regional Urban Forestry Strategy was created. Under the Strategy, project partners are focused on fostering regional collaboration around trees and expanding the management capacity of the urban forest by completing a variety of objectives such as needs assessment survey, stakeholder workshops, and local projects focused on the health of the urban forest as a whole. As part of the Strategy, a needs assessment survey was sent to 350 community officials and program managers in the 30 cities and four counties in the Portland-Vancouver region to identify current trends in urban forestry attitudes and practices. Results indicated that, in general, urban forestry programs were important to community officials and program managers alike with both expressing an avid interest in implementing and expanding tree programs. Program components relating to tree health were regarded as the most important items to an urban forestry program by respondents; however, management components such as a certified arborist, a tree board, and an urban forest management plan were considered least important, and respondents indicated that their jurisdictions had been least successful in achieving these items. Difficulty exists in implementing or expanding programs in the Portland-Vancouver region due to inadequate funding and lack of political and public support, but respondents indicated that increased community education and the creation or revision of urban forest management plans and tree related ordinances were priorities for their jurisdictions. Survey results will serve to inform the development of the Regional Urban Forestry Strategy and contribute to professional knowledge and urban forestry activities occurring in the region. In addition, this research provides interesting insight into attitudes and practices surrounding urban forest management which are applicable to federal, state, and local programs. These programs can use the results of this study to re-examine current areas of focus to better direct resources and assistance to those areas of need in the Portland-Vancouver Region. Although many challenges to increasing the management capacity of the urban forest in the study area were identified by this research, additional opportunities to improve the livability of this urban ecosystem were recognized. By advancing current and future urban forestry efforts in the region, this research aims to help local jurisdictions achieve successful urban forestry programs that increase the health of our urban forests while reaping the ecosystem benefits trees provide.
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