"Why do you take care of your tree? So it don’t die": How public and private stewardship regimes inform juvenile tree survivorship.

Authors: Nicholas Geron*, , John Rogan, Clark University, Deborah Martin, Clark University, Marc Healy, Clark University, Juliette Gale, Clark University
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Urban Geography, Environmental Science
Keywords: Urban forestry, tree survivorship, stewardship regimes, tree planting
Session Type: Paper
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Trees in urban neighborhoods benefit residents by reducing building energy costs, providing cleaner air, decreasing surface runoff, and improving quality of life. Governments are planting more trees to increase total tree canopy cover but the benefits from these trees are dependent on the juvenile trees surviving to reach maturity. Factors that impact tree survivorship are linked to the biophysical environment as well as stewardship practices. This study posed three questions: what is the tree survivorship in six cities in the Greening the Gateway Cities (GGC) program and do residential trees have higher survivorship than public trees? How does resident’s attitudes about stewardship impact tree survivorship? The state of Massachusetts initiated the Greening the Gateway Cities program to increase tree canopy cover by 10% in post-industrial, midsized cities with lower educational attainment and lower income than state averages by planting trees on private resident’s land (80% of trees planted) and in public spaces (20%). 5252 trees in six cities were surveyed for biophysical variables and interviews were conducted with 60 residents on their stewardship attitudes and practices. This research hypothesizes that owner-occupied buildings and residents with fewer trees (less than 5) will have a comparable survivorship to public trees that are stewarded by state foresters. It also hypothesizes that residents who take care of their trees for environmental reasons, have prior stewardship knowledge, and who water daily had significantly higher survivorship than residents who were apathetic about receiving trees, rely on program pamphlets for information and water weekly or less.

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