Revisiting the Status, Needs, and Knowledge Levels of
Mississippi’s Governmental Entities Relative to Urban Forestry
Stephen C. Grado, Marcus K. Measells, and Donald L. Grebner
Abstract: In 2004, Mississippi State University researchers determined the status, needs, and knowledge levels of Mississippi’s community leaders and communities relative to urban and community forestry benefits, programs, funding opportunities, and program implementation. As a result, this project’s goals were to build on past research and identify trends for past and current involvement and future interest levels among Mississippi’s small (<2,000 people) to large (>10,000 people) communities for urban and community forestry programs and assistance. This current effort revisited these communities, previously surveyed in 2004, and highlighted changes in knowledge levels and various activities and programs undertaken. A mail survey was sent to 293 Mississippi communities with 163 surveys returned for a response rate of 55.6%. In general, communities responding indicated that a sizable number of officials have increased their awareness or interest in urban and community forestry. Communities that wanted to establish programs the most again cited a lack of funding as the reason for not initiating projects or sustaining existing programs. Greater effort in disseminating information on funding opportunities was seen as necessary, given that most Mississippi communities were only aware of a few national programs. Participation in statewide or local urban forestry programs and activities was minimal. The authors’ previous study found that without quality, updated information on urban and community forestry and reliable funding, communities are limited in undertaking systematic planning and associated programs utilizing arboreal resources. Good information distribution, which has improved, and reliable funding are still limiting communities in undertaking systematic planning and associated urban and community forestry programs.
Keywords: Large Communities; Medium-sized Communities; Mississippi; Reassessment; Small Communities; Survey Research; Urban and