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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 44, Issue 2 — March 2018

Resident Attitudes and Actions Toward Native Tree Species: A Case Study of Residents in Four Southern Ontario Municipalities    (View PDF)

Andrew Almas and Tenley Conway

Abstract: Urban forests are increasingly acknowledged as important areas for producing ecosystem services and maintaining ecosystem processes. In response, municipalities throughout North America have been adopting long-term plans to support strategic management of the urban forest. These plans have the potential to shape the urban forest for decades to come. Most management plans emphasize the planting of native trees, to improve ecological integrity and ecosystem services, and acknowledge the need for resident stewardship to help meet urban forestry goals. Residentsí support and action is crucial, since the majority of urban trees are located on residential property, yet it is unclear what residentsí attitudes and actions are regarding native trees. Using a case study of four municipalities in southern Ontario, Canada (two that have management plans that call for more native species plantings and two that do not), researchers administered a survey that explored residentsí attitudes and actions toward native tree species, focusing on the relationship between municipal emphasis on native species planting, household socio-demographics, and residentsí attitudes and actions toward native species. The results indicate that residentsí generally have positive attitudes toward native trees, although fewer are interested in planting native species if they create a hazard or increase costs. Moreover, these generally positive attitudes do not translate into emphasizing native species when actually selecting tree species to plant. This paper adds to existing research surrounding the need for further outreach and environmental education and greater availability of native plants in local nurseries.

Keywords: Carolinian Canada; Municipal Policy; Native Species; Nurseries; Ontario; Residents; Stewardship; Urban Forest.

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