Community Forestry in Missouri, U.S.: Attitudes and Knowledge of Local Officials
Thomas Treiman and Justine Gartner
Abstract: A survey was employed to help understand the knowledge, motivation, and behavior of those responsible for tree care in 602 Missouri, U.S., communities. Our goal was to characterize the local agencies charged with managing urban trees, their budgets and personnel, and to determine which issues local officials responsible for managing publicly owned trees found to be most pressing. This information is used to evaluate the state's community forestry program, which is designed to coordinate and facilitate the efforts made by many jurisdictions and entities that own and affect community forests. Survey findings indicate that most communities lack basic information on tree care and do not employ anyone specifically to care for the community's trees. Responsibility for tree care can be in any number of departments (or none). Agencies working with communities will need to target basic training and information. Information on how to diversify funding and secure more stable sources of income will prove valuable because many communities budget zero dollars for tree care. Cost-share dollars should also be targeted with an emphasis on increasing participation among smaller communities. Interest in tree preservation during development is high in most communities, underlining the need to provide information on development principles that preserve or maximize greenspace.
Keywords: Urban and community forestry; tree program; survey research; Missouri.