Urban Trees Programs from Municipal Officials' Perspective:
Evidence from Alabama, U.S.
Yaoqi Zhang and Bin Zheng
Abstract: Using survey data, this study explored Alabama municipal employees and policy makersí perception of urban trees, financing, governing, and information sharing regarding urban forest management. Results suggest that the importance of urban trees is widely recognized by local municipal employees and policymakers. They also believe that urban trees would increase property value and promote community pride. Ecological benefits were, however, less valued. Alabama, U.S. cities spent less than USD $60,000 per year on tree planting, tree maintenance, debris, and tree removal. Cities with a large population usually appear to spend more on urban trees; likewise, cities with higher household incomes and lower poverty rates would have higher expenditures on urban tree programs. Relatively minor differences were found among the three types of employees and administrators: mayors, council members, and administrators. The results indicate many municipal officials were not aware of, or informed about, related agencies providing urban tree management services.
Keywords: Environmental Awareness; Municipal; Perceptions; Public Infrastructure; Regional Development; Survey; Urban Planning.