UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Arborists and Urban Foresters Support for Urban Wildlife and Habitat Sustainability : Results of an Urban Ecology-Focused Survey of Arborists Martin, Alexander James Fricke; Almas, Andrew

Abstract

Urbanization is causing fragmentation of natural areas and impacting urban wildlife populations. Sustainability of wildlife and their habitat in arboriculture has focused on three key areas: retaining wildlife snags and beneficial-tree features (e.g., hollows/cavities), education of arborists and the public, and the adoption of systems-level thinking into arboriculture (i.e., the consideration of wildlife in risk matrices and pruning objectives). We surveyed 805 arborists using an international online survey to examine how arborists perceive these key areas of wildlife conservation and sustainability in urban forest management. Systems-level thinking was the highest rated method for arborists to support urban wildlife, followed by the retaining of wildlife snags. Education and the involvement of conservation groups received lower ratings, and the retainment of branches with hollows or cavities received the lowest ratings. In selecting important factors for wildlife snag retainment, arborists were most concerned with tree risk and targets, followed by setting (urban versus rural) and use of the tree by wildlife. Other factors that are the concern of urban ecologists were less important to respondents. Our findings support continued urban ecology education for arborists which focuses on whole/complex systems thinking to develop sustainable urban forest management practices which benefit urban wildlife.

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CC BY 4.0