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Tree Planting Initiatives: Traits of a Bloom in Urban Greening

Authors: Theodore S. Eisenman*, University of Massachusetts - Amherst, Tamsin Flanders, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Richard W. Harper, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Richard J. Hauer, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, Katherine Lieberknecht, University of Texas, Austin
Topics: Landscape, Urban and Regional Planning, Urban Geography
Keywords: urban trees, urban forestry, urban greening, green infrastructure
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Tree planting initiatives (TPI) are an increasingly common type of urban greening – a social practice characterized by organized or semi-organized efforts to introduce, conserve, or maintain outdoor vegetation in urban areas (Eisenman, 2016; Feng and Tan, 2017; Kuchelmeister, 1998). Anecdotal observations and a growing body of scholarship also suggest that TPI are distinct from a municipality’s typical tree planting activity such as operational or ceremonial plantings. TPI seem to have unique funding mechanisms, governance networks, and goals (Campbell 2017; Locke and Grove 2014; Nguyen et al. 2017; Young 2011); and they can yield distinct tree survival rates (Breger et al. 2019; Roman et al. 2015; Vogt et al. 2015). This suggests that TPI ought to be studied as a discrete form of urban greening and urban forestry practice. Yet, there has been little scholarship on the origins of TPI (Pincetl et al. 2013); and to the best of our knowledge there has been no systematic survey of TPI across municipal scales and ecoregions. Addressing this gap, we are conducting a survey of municipal tree planting leaders in U.S. cities with populations above 50,000. This presentation will report on preliminary findings of this study, with an overarching goal to depict typical traits of TPI. This will, in turn, provide a baseline data set for future research on TPI and other forms of urban greening.

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