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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 38, Issue 1 — January 2012

Short Communication: A Comparative Analysis of Municipal Urban Tree Inventories of Selected Major Cities in North America and Europe    (View PDF)

Julie Kjeldsen-Kragh Keller and Cecil C. Konijnendijk

Abstract: Effective management of the urban forest calls for municipalities to have a tree inventory of their urban resource. The approach to urban forestry is rather different in Europe and North America, both in terms of background and culture. This contribution discusses similarities and differences in tree inventory practices, based on a pilot study of three major cities in North America (Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and Boston, Massachusetts and New York City, New York, U.S.) and three major cities in Northern Europe (Oslo, Norway; and Aarhus and Copenhagen, Denmark). The pilot study consisted of semi-structured expert interviews in each city, and an analysis of their tree inventories in terms of their level of detail, how they were undertaken, and how they have been used. Each of the cities, with exception of Oslo, had inventoried all of their street trees. Volunteers were only used in Boston and New York City. None of the cities had developed a management plan based on their tree inventory. The inventory had only been completely incorporated into the work order system in New York City and Toronto. This explorative study shows that more research is needed to investigate what subsequently happens to tree inventories in municipalities after they have been performed. Moreover, more work is needed to identify whether inventories are being utilized to their full advantage in terms of producing management plans. Some key themes for further research are described. The set up of this pilot study could serve as a format for comprehensive research.

Keywords: Tree Vitality Assessment; Urban Forest Managgement; Urban Forest Resource Assessment; Urban Forestry; Volunteers.

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