Vancouver’s Urban Forests : Gauging Public Perceptions and Using Citizen Science to Monitor Ecological Health Olia, Amani; Tam, Cherry; Hendry, Emma; San, Kimberly
Healthy urban forests improve human health, provide a variety of ecosystem services, and support plant and animal diversity. It is critical to monitor the health of urban forests due to the anthropogenic stressors they face and their importance in urban environments, and citizen science has shown to be a valuable tool to accomplish this goal (Galloway, Tudor, & Vander Haegen, 2006). Citizen science involves engaging ordinary citizens to volunteer their time to collect scientific data, often in the form of educational events or meetups. The city of Vancouver, Canada, has a large urban forest, with canopy cover making up 18% of the city area; however, canopy cover is declining due to development (City of Vancouver, 2014). The Vancouver Park Board is interested in increasing awareness about urban forests through educational opportunities, such as citizen science programs, that encourage the public to take part in helping to monitor the health of their local forests. To meet these goals, this project engaged citizens in Vancouver to reveal perceptions of urban forests, developed and tested a citizen science method to monitor aspects of urban forest health, and provided recommendations on how citizen science programs could be developed in the future.
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