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Urban forestry : the harmonization between North America and Europe Guo, Edward 2015-03-23

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UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA – FRST 497 Urban Forestry: The harmonization between North America and Europe   Edward Guo 3/23/2015     Abstract Urban forestry is practiced both in North America and Europe, but is viewed in different ways. North America is a highly urbanized continent, which allows them to have a greater number of researchers focused in on an idea of urban forestry. Europe on the other hand is a continent with a great number of different countries and cultures each focused on their own ideas. Even though they are both practicing the same thing, the methods and reasoning behind it are very different. For urban forestry to grow in North America, it will require innovation from younger students beginning in urban forestry programs at universities. For Europe, it will require the countries to have a minimum number of research assignments and projects in urban forestry. By comparing the two sides, it can be seen that each continent can learn from the other and by harmonizing the two it can create the greatest growth.    Table of Contents Abstract ............................................................. 1 Introduction .................................................... 3 North American Urban Forestry ........... 4 History............................................................. 4 Defintion......................................................... 5 Roles and Benefits ..................................... 6 Locations ........................................................ 8 European Urban Forestry ......................... 9 History............................................................. 9 Defintion...................................................... 10 Research ...................................................... 12 Locations ..................................................... 13 Comparison between North American and European Discussion ...................... 14 Conclusion .................................................... 18 References .................................................... 18    Introduction Urban Forestry is an idea that has been around for as long as trees have been in the ground and buildings have been erected. Urban Forestry is the management of tree populations in urban environments, with the goal of increasing the value of human life. A more scientific definition would be the art, science and technology of managing trees and forest resources in and around urban community ecosystems for the physiological, sociological, economical and aesthetic benefits trees provide society (Helms, 1998). Trees are often seen as a much more aesthetically pleasing counterpart to the insipid view that buildings and roads provide. As a result, urban forestry is an important part of each city’s infrastructure by increasing their intrinsic values. Currently, there has been an increase in urbanization worldwide over the past decade and it is only continuing to rise. Because of this it has become increasingly difficult to manage green spaces with the amount of built-up areas being propped up. With the difficulty of managing green spaces, urban forestry needs to grow as a profession and more people need to become involved. By looking at urban forestry in both Europe and North America, there can be solutions to the growth of urban forestry by harmonizing the values of both continents.  This paper will explore urban forestry ideals and practices in North America and Europe and how they differ from one another. First, it will look at North American urban forestry and its history, definition, roles and benefits and location. In the next part, it will look at European urban forestry looking at its history, definition and location as well, and will also look into its research. At the end there will be a comparison between the two sides and an opinion on how it can be improved.  One of the main topics this essay will view is the different values each continent can bring to each other and how it can be improved upon.  North American Urban Forestry History Urban forestry is said to have rapidly begun in North America in the 1960s-1970s, but there is evidence to suggest its professional forestry origins may have started in the late 19th century (Johnston, 1996). There are documents from the 1800s that show the protection of “shade” and “ornamental”, which were words to describe public trees (Campanella, 2003). Another important fact to note is that there have been urban forestry professionals practicing at the municipal level in the 1800s, but they were identified as city forester, municipal forester or tree warden (Harris, 1992).  An important landmark to signify urban forestry’s beginning was an urban forestry state legislation, which was passed in the US in the 19th century (Kinney, 1972). An example of this was New Jersey and New England passing a law in the 1890s that allowed to them to begin appointing shade tree commissioners and tree wardens to care for public trees (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). Even though this sounds simple, this was a large step towards what we see urban forestry as today. By having specific positions over certain area of public trees, it helped ensure the well-being of these trees and maintain their aesthetic values. Even though the concept of urban forestry began in the late 19th century, scientists only began talking about it more and increased writing about this idea in the 1960s-1970s. Defintion To find one definition of urban forestry is a challenge due to the multiple historical meanings it takes (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). It is said that many of the same definitions that describe forest structure can also be used to describe urban forestry (Mcpherson, 2003). Terms such as soil, climate, associated vegetation and built landscape also vary significantly throughout urban areas as well as their forest landscape counterparts (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). The management of trees can also change depending on where you are on the urban-to-rural gradient (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). This gradient can be visualized as urban cores to suburban developments, and then finally into villages and rural areas (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). The tree is seen as the main unit, which is used in parks, along sidewalks and medians (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). One of the definitions written about urban forestry was in (Jorgenson, 1986) who wrote  “Urban forestry is a specialized branch of forestry and has as its objectives the cultivation and management of trees for their present and potential contribution to the physiological, sociological and economic well-being of urban society. The contributions include the over-all ameliorating effect of trees on their environment, as well as their recreational and general amenity value.” By this definition it explains that urban forestry should be viewed as its own branch of forestry, with the goal of bringing well-being to the population. Another well-cited definition written by the Society of American Foresters is  “the art, science and technology of managing trees and forest resources in and around urban community ecosystems for the physiological, sociological, economic and aesthetic benefits trees provide”(Helms, 1998). This definition shows urban forestry as a way for trees to give a variety of values in urban communities. By comparing these two definitions it is clear that the goal of urban forestry in its simplest term is to increase the human value of urban places. The value can be seen as physiological, which is the increased health of human beings as they are around trees compared to solely buildings.  It is also sociological, which is the happiness that people gain when they are around nature. Finally, trees increase the economic value of cities by increasing the beauty and drawing more people to want to live there. People want to be in places where they can feel the best and urban forestry aims to achieve those goals.   Roles and Benefits Urban forestry has been established in the US and Canada for a long period of time. They were seen as an important venture in the past and is still and important one today. Based on their geographical extent, urban forestry becomes even more important as it affects local economies, and their proximity to people (Mcpherson, 2006). Because of their proximity to people, urban forestry can provide people substantial environmental, social and economic benefits to urban dwellers (Mcpherson, 2006). The first benefit is the improvement in air quality and climate protection (Mcpherson, 2006). With an increasing population, there becomes a rise in motor vehicle use, which can cause the rise in unhealthy air (Mcpherson, 2006). Urban forests have been found to have a positive impact on air quality through the absorption of pollutants to the vegetation canopy, sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide in woody biomass, reduction of the summertime air temperatures and energy savings that reduce emissions from power plants (Mcpherson, 2006). An example of this energy saving comes from California where its 177 million urban trees help save 6,400GWh in annual electricity use for air conditioning (Mcpherson and Simpson, 2003). Another benefit that can be gained from urban forestry relates to the problem of water resources (Mcpherson, 2006). Cities in the USA produce wastewater, which require treatment and the runoff from these pollutants, are hazardous to human health as well as freshwater and coastal ecosystems (Mcpherson, 2006). Trees can prevent the runoff from small storms, which are responsible for the greatest annual pollutant wash off, which then protects the water quality (Mcpherson, 2006). An example of this would be in Seattle, where they own a large tract of urban forest that it uses for its land treatment of sewage waste (Mcpherson, 2006). One social benefit of urban forestry is it is able to counteract stress, renew vital energy, and speed healing processes (Mcpherson, 2006). Research has shown that the relationship between green spaces and human health can show greater signs of life when living in the greener environment (De Vries et al, 2003). Being able to interact with the trees and become involved in some form of outdoor recreation can have significant individual and community benefits (Mcpherson, 2006). Finally, urban forestry provides disadvantaged community’s jobs such as tree planting and stewardship jobs are giving local youth economic opportunities (Mcpherson, 2006). There has been large scale planting initiatives in Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver and Seattle, which build “green-collar” economies and invigorating neighborhoods (Mcpherson, 2006). Also, people tend to spend more money and shop longer in commercial areas with more trees rather than less trees (Wolf, 2004). All these examples show the depth in thought that North America and specifically the USA has gone into with researching and planning through urban forestry.  Locations In North America, locations are divided into three subsections, urban, peri-urban and rural (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). Urban is defined as communities where people live, but there have been more specific definitions such as the one by Statistics Canada stating there must be a minimum population concentration of 1000 persons and a population density of at least 400 persons per square kilometer (Statisitics Canada, 2001). By these definitions there is very high density of “urban” cities within USA and Canada as they are both first world countries. These urban cities require the most management of trees due to the higher population density as well as higher structure density as well. Rural cities are defined as places, which are not urban (Statistics Canada, 2001). The combination of urban and rural areas equates to the area of Canada (Statistics Canada, 2001). Because of this definition interstitial areas are also seen as rural as well as areas beyond the direct influence of urbanization (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). However there is also a new term gaining usage, which is peri-urban. Peri-urban describes the regions adjacent to urban areas and is clearly under their influence (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). There is another definition stating that is a hybrid of the fragmented urban and rural characteristics. There has been amalgamation of smaller regions, which have blurred the lines between traditional forestry in peri-urban regions and urban forestry in truly urbanized areas (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). This has caused for certain peri-urban zones to fall under the jurisdiction of the same departments that traditionally have only dealt with street and park trees (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). European Urban Forestry History Europe has always been known for their history in greenspace design and management (Forrest et al, 2005). In central Europe, there has been cities known to own and manage their own woodlands for centuries, a practice they call “town forestry” (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). During the urban boom in Europe in the 1900s, urban parks were not seen as a priority as people did not feel it provided an increase in quality of urban life and the health of the workers (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). At first their green space management had been more sectorial, with places such as city parks and street trees each having their own experts or municipal departments (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). It was only in the 1970s when there began more comprehensive approaches towards green space planning and management (Werquin et al, 2015). The term “urban forestry” was introduced to the Europeans by the US in the late 1980s and it evoked interest from them to include more integrative and holistic perspectives (Johnston, 1997). They began executing projects in cities such as London and Belfast and followed North-American examples. However, they found resistance from foresters who did not believe cities were their domain and professions who took care of the urban parks who did not want outside interference (Johnston, 1997). Eventually the concept of urban forestry gained recognition and was able to adapt to European conditions (Johnston, 1997). There is a large scale of definitions and approaches to urban forestry that exist and it can be attributed to the diversity of European landscape and cultures (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). Defintion When looking at Europe from the outside, one would describe it as a continent full of diversity and various cultures. There are a plethora of different languages, traditions and economic development, Therefore; it makes sense that the definition of urban forestry is extremely broad depending on where you are. The concept of urban forestry has been difficult to translate amongst different languages (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). As explained in the previous section, the history of “town forestry” makes it difficult to have direct translation to urban forestry (Tyravainen, 2003). This has caused there to be two main streams for the concept of urban forestry (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). The first stream is a narrower definition which links urban forestry to urban woodlands (forestry in or near urban areas) (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). The second stream provides a broader perspective of urban forestry, which not only includes woodlands like the narrower definition, but also tree groups and individual trees such as tree dominated parts of green space (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). The definition provided by British experts in a European overview written in (Forrest et al, 2005):  “Urban forestry is a multi-disciplinary activity that encompasses the design, planning, establishment and management of trees, woodlands and associated flora and open space, which is usually physically linked to a form of mosaic of vegetation in or near built-up areas. It serves a range of multi-purpose functions, but it is primarily for amenity and the promotion of human well-being.” Even though this definition is over simplified, it shows the values that the Europeans have using words such as “mosaic”, which is linked to art and the care towards biodiversity. The concept of urban forestry with time has begun to take an approach towards a wider, tree-based green resource and has been accepted by some European experts with some debate (Randrup et al, 2005). The definition of urban forestry written by the former British National Urban Forestry Unit “[the urban forest] collectively describes all trees and woods in an urban area: in parks, private gardens, streets, around factories, offices, hospitals and schools, on wasteland and in existing woodlands” (NUFU, 1999) is more similar to the concept used today stressing the areas it is used for. By looking at the two definitions it is clear the difference between the first definitions focuses more on biodiversity and recreational benefits of urban woodland (Randrup et al, 2005) whereas the second is focused more on the places and the aesthetics. Europe has also begun to shift their view of urban forestry and has started to view the environmental benefits such as urban climate and air pollution reduction as well as social benefits (Tyravainen, 2003). Research For the Europeans the research performed on urban forestry is generally linked towards the aesthetics of the surroundings. But, because Europe is a continent with diversity, each country is putting their resources into different aspects of urban forestry. An example of this is, in Italy there is more research being done on the historical gardens and their urban green space structures than things like air pollution (Konijnendjik, 2000). Another example of this is the issue of de-icing salt, which are harming urban trees in the Nordic countries (Konijnendjik, 2000). These are both examples of different countries in Europe taking extra care for the aesthetics of the tree for the public and for its history. In a country like Austria however, their research is being done towards the form, functions and benefits of urban forestry, similar to the North American ideals (Konijnendjik, 2000). Finally, countries like Belgium and Finland are expressing a strong focus towards woodlands (Konijnendjik, 2000). Based on a survey done by Koniknendjik et al, it showed that urban parks had the highest number of projects done followed by woodlands and then streets (Konijnendjik, 2000).  What can be concluded from this is that, the Europeans are looking for the value that trees can bring to their cities, and places such as public parks are a perfect place to flaunt their city. Also, based on another survey done, it showed that selection and establishment had the highest number of projects done followed by form, functions and benefits and lastly management. Selection portion means the testing of plant materials in for urban areas, whereas the establishment portion delves into the growing media, mixtures and soils (Konijnendjik, 2000). Form, functions and benefits refers to the typology of ecological values as well and benefits in general (Konijnendjik, 2000). This can include psychological and health aspects for urban forests and trees, but they are rare (Konijnendjik, 2000). The management portion asks about the determining, preventing, and managing abiotic, biotic and anthropogenic stresses (Konijnendjik, 2000). There have been very few studies that are focused on the care of individual trees; rather there are more that focus on the general management and maintenance and vitality assessment (Konijnendjik, 2000). This once again confirms the point that plants and trees provide the benefit of great visual quality for Europeans and that they are always looking for ways to find improvement through research. Locations It is difficult to find definitive locations of where urban forestry should be managed in Europe due to the difference in landscapes from one country to another. One definition of urban forestry that remains the same throughout the continent is vegetation that is built-up in areas or administrative boundaries of larger settlements (Randrup et al, 2005). Urban areas are often seen as places that are built-up, functional and have a dense population of people and buildings (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). It is difficult to draw the line between where urban forestry should be managed, as some experts also believe that woodlands and trees should be managed in suburban and peri-urban areas (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). When the line is blurred it becomes difficult to find people to manage these areas as it grows confusing about who to ask. It is common in Europe to have remote woodlots that cater to urban populations and it is believed that they should be defined as “urbanized-forests” rather than urban forests (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). Comparison between North American and European Discussion Looking at their history, both North America and Europe have similar ideals for what they believe urban forestry to be. In North America, the culture has become very urbanized, which allows easier integration of urban forestry ideals. These ideals include goals from maintaining a historic tree in park to increasing canopy cover in a certain area (Dwyer et al, 2000). Many of these goals are operational such as diversification of trees, tree care and tree protection (Groninger et al, 2002). A city forester would be more inclined to believe that urban forestry is related to their day-to-day work (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). However, even though it is easy to integrate ideals, it is more difficult to decipher what the leading ideals are. The current approach to urban forestry focuses on the operation is one-dimensional and does not include the other benefits of urban forestry. Other benefits can include climate moderation and greater economic value from tourism. If urban forestry is to be displayed in a more prominent role there needs to be a multi-dimension view that includes all the benefits.  In Europe, urban forestry is seen as foreign ideal and the definition is still different depending on what region you are in. Because of these diverse definitions, the idea of urban forestry remains flexible and there isn’t one way to think. To further add to Europe’s flexibility, Europe would prefer to avoid a rigid definition to maintain their rich diversity (Randrup et al, 2005).  Also in Europe, they have a greater range of what they define urban to be, which allows there to different professions and perspectives to take part (Konijnendijk et al, 2006). With this much flexibility, there may be the issue of multiple conflicting ideas. If there is no consensus on how and where to operate, it can cause issues to the land base. In addition, this does not allow for the idea of urban forestry to cultivate as a whole because there is no single leading idea. Initially, being flexible in what can be managed and how it can be managed is beneficial to bring about innovation, but there comes a point where in order urban forestry to grow it will require following a master idea.  North America can benefit from diversification that the Europeans have employed. Looking at a country like the USA, there is only one government that controls such a dense area of urbanized land. When this government is the only governing body looking over such vast amount of land, there isn’t much room for innovation or new ideas in the field. The people who will support the ideas and bring in newer ones will always be the same ones. There will be leading experts in the field, who feel they have the best ideas and that their direction is the one they should go, but this will often be a branch off an older idea without much newer thought.  This will stunt growth of where urban forestry will go, as there aren’t many completely new ideas to push the older ideas. For urban forestry to continue to grow as an idea, research, and profession, it requires competition and constant molding of the current methods.  Competition leads to the process of refining of ideas and will result in the birth of more productive ideas. This change in ideology is difficult for countries like USA and Canada. Firstly, their governing bodies control so much of what resources go where, as well as urban forestry is not popular and prestigious enough to have more people at the top of their class want to spend a lifetime doing research. One way that urban forestry can become more innovative is by starting to create programs at the university level. Universities such as UBC are already beginning to enroll students into their urban forestry program and it is a major step in the right direction. Students are imperative to the growth of urban forestry as facilitates a way for younger individuals to become passionate in this field at an early age.  Once more students develop a passion they can start becoming more involved. The chances of these students challenging the old ideals and create their own will increase. Students will also have the opportunity to go abroad and view how other countries and cultures practice urban forestry. This allows them to be able to formulate ideas from this experience.  Implementing change at a younger age will bring about more experts in the field in the future and that will begin to push the boundaries and challenge current ideas of urban forestry.  Currently, there isn’t enough innovation in the field, but with the addition of student based programs it can help bring urban forestry to the next level.  Europe can benefit from some of the ideas that North America has.  It is much more difficult to have every country in Europe follow one ideology, because each country has an individual governing body. It may be that each country may have different ideas of how they want to practice urban forestry. As a result of this, there are some countries that lack research and do not want to put the resources into urban forestry. This hinders the country’s growth as a whole, and negatively affects the direction urban forestry is heading. Since urban forestry is viewed more as a way to increase aesthetics of their countries and less of their natural benefits, it is not considered as high priority for them. Areas like art, history and culture are keystone values to the Europeans while urban forestry is merely a way to help increase those values. However, there are some countries that view urban forestry similar to that North America. However, due to the country’s lack of resources and experts it is difficult for these countries to go deeper even with these views. Until urban forestry becomes an important research topic for the Europeans, it will remain in the background of other research such as motor technology, fashion and architecture. For urban forestry to grow in Europe, countries need to be willing to have to commit to a minimum amount of research and projects in their countries. This will cause each country to be dedicated to working towards urban forest projects and also achieve these goals their own different ways. It will also allow the countries that are not as participating in urban forest projects, to participate and have their own sector. Once each country begins to perform their own research and realize results, there can be a review of the ideas and results. Any overlapping ideas between the countries can be continually used and built upon. This will also allow Europe to create their own master idea of where they want urban forestry to lead to and can help determine their baseline. It is extremely difficult to convince even a handful of countries to agree to spend their resources on an area they currently do not place high importance over. The best way for this can happen is if urban forestry gains popularity in the scientific world, and researchers see it as legitimate a field to enter into such as other sciences like physics. Europe is currently lacking in ideology in a field that is new and can benefit from the research in each country to find ways to improve the field. Conclusion In conclusion, urban forestry is an idea that has been in the history of both North America and Europe, but when compared had many differences. Their biggest differences included the ways that they approached the reason behind urban forestry and the amount of different ideas they had. North America was known to have a grounded approach towards urban forestry, but lacked the innovation and flexibility. Europe on the other hand despite a lot of diversity from different countries lacked a strong base. Even though both continents have different ideals, the harmonization and learning from the other can lead to a strong upbringing in urban forest ideas, which can allow the field to grow into one where everyday there are new people passionate about where it is headed.  References Campanella, T. J. (2003). 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