Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Understanding Citizen Advisory Boards : A National Census of Tree Boards Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/k3569671w

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  • Effective management of urban forests is vital to society due to the numerous ecological, economic, and social benefits they provide. In many cities, management efforts are commonly supported by citizen advisory groups, which are often generically referred to as “tree boards” within the urban forestry context. Very little is known about tree boards and the volunteers who serve on them; consequently this study addresses this knowledge gap by investigating a sample of urban forestry tree boards that were part of the Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA program. Surveys distributed to Tree City USA tree boards inquired about basic structure of the boards, demographics of the individuals who serve on them, and their motivations to serve. Results provided insights into what Tree City USA tree boards looked like and offered a profile of their typical board member. Compared to national demographic data, board member composition was considerably less diverse in race and ethnicity, indicating that these citizen advisory groups may not accurately represent the communities impacted by their decision-making. Survey responses indicated that the majority of tree board members were motivated to volunteer on their respective board because they were interested in the management of their urban forest. Additional analysis revealed that certified arborists and individuals in the natural resources profession were most likely to volunteer in order to gain career-related experience and opportunities when compared to non-certified arborists and individuals in different professions. Study findings provide the first-ever description of Tree City USA tree boards on a national level. Findings also suggest that volunteer motivations can be used to direct member recruitment, thereby improving effectiveness of community input in urban forest management. An improved management process would likely result in healthier, more abundant urban forests.
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