STATUS, NEEDS, AND KNOWLEDGE LEVELS OF
MISSISSIPPI’S COMMUNITIES RELATIVE TO URBAN
Stephen C. Grado, Donald L. Grebner, Marcus K. Measells, and Amanda L. Husak
Abstract: There is a need to determine levels of knowledge about and participation in urban and community forestry programs by local elected officials and other community planners. This project's goals were to identify the past and current involvement and future interest levels among Mississippi's small to large communities for urban forestry programs and assistance. A mail survey was sent to 296 Mississippi, U.S., communities. There were 159 surveys returned for a response rate of 53.7%. In general, the survey sample of Mississippi's communities indicated that a sizable number of officials have little or no awareness or interest in urban and community forestry. Among the Mississippi communities that wanted to establish urban and community forestry programs, most cited a lack of funding as the reason for not initiating projects or sustaining existing programs. Greater effort in disseminating information on funding opportunities is necessary, given that most Mississippi communities were aware of only a few national programs. Participation in statewide or local programs was minimal. Without good information and reliable funding, communities are limited in undertaking systematic planning and associated programs for tree resources in their community. In addition, effectively delivering information to communities to broaden public appreciation of urban forest resources is critical.
Keywords: Community planners; governmental agencies; large communities; Mississippi; program assessment; small communities; survey research; urban and community forestry