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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Assessing the role of urban forests for outdoor forestry education : a case study Coupland, Kathleen


Post-secondary forestry education is facing the impacts of urbanization resulting in a reduction in access to high-value outdoor educational locations. Research that merges urban forestry, forestry teaching objectives and educational approaches is lacking. The presented work aims to narrow this gap using an exploratory approach. To determine the amount, area, and value of urban forests available for immediate use for forestry education without the costs and logistical burdens associated with off-campus trips, a case study evaluation of forest types, walkability, and forestry learning objectives on hyper-local scales was carried out, using high resolution LiDAR data. Forest learning objectives were able to be linked with urban forest types, and local areas with educational potential were identified. High-resolution point cloud data was then used in conjunction with historical aerial photos to examine forest cover change over time at scales unavailable from satellite data. The combination of two data sources allowed for the analysis of how changing locations on campus and university development can impact access to outdoor education locations. The methods successfully combined data types in a novel way increasing the ability to use high resolution remotely sensed data to monitor changes over longtime scales. It was found that shifts in teaching locations on a university campus can cause changes in access to outdoor education locations, highlighting cross campus differences in access. Questionnaires and interviews involving students, graduates and instructors provided in-depth understanding of the value, impacts, challenges and necessity of and for outdoor learning experiences in the education of forest professionals. Independently analyzing student and instructor perspectives of outdoor education allowed for targeted recommendations to maximize the positive impacts to students while minimizing instructor concerns. Participants recognized the value of outdoor education in post-secondary degree programs and generally ranked urban forests as less value than their rural counterparts. Despite the lower valuation of urban forests, participants agreed there was value in increasing their utilization to increase outdoor learning.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International