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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 41, Issue 6 — November 2015

The Costs of Maintaining and Not Maintaining the Urban Forest: A Review of the Urban Forestry and Arboriculture Literature    (View PDF)

Jess Vogt, Richard J. Hauer, and Burnell C. Fischer

Abstract: Existing urban forest literature is strongest in its quantification and qualification of the benefits and care of trees, and not in its ability to assess the results of lack of investment in trees. This paper presents the results of a literature review on the “Costs of Not Maintaining Trees” commissioned by the ISA Science and Research Committee. The authors summarized the literature from within the field of arboriculture/urban forestry to answer the questions: What are the costs of maintaining trees and the urban forest? And, What are the costs of not maintaining trees? Present here is a detailed summary of the literature on the costs of maintenance and lack of maintenance for types of tree care commonly included in municipal budgets (planting, pruning, removal, pest and disease management) and a brief review of costs associated with less-studied types of tree care (including tree risk management; watering; mulching; fertilizing and nutrient management; staking, cabling, and bracing; tree protection; and infrastructure repair). The authors suggest that future literature should aim to examine the influence of maintenance regimes on costs and tree outcomes, including examining how the frequency, intensity, duration, and extent of tree maintenance activities is connected to the structure, function, and benefits of trees.

Keywords: Cost of Not Maintaining Trees; Literature Review; Maintenance Costs; Pruning; Planting; Removal; Municipal Forestry; Deferred Maintenance; Urban Forestry; Urban Tree Maintenance.

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