Preparing to search
The aim of this project was to provide a statistically robust contemporary perspective on individuals’ attitudes to trees in the urban landscape.
The research investigated individual and community level understanding of and support for, planting, management and maintenance of urban trees. It also compared the value of urban trees with other urban habitats, including managing or removing trees for other biodiversity or societal benefits. The evidence collected is designed to help inform local and national government, managers of infrastructure, and environmental organisations and professionals involved in the expansion, management and maintenance of urban tree cover.
Respondents across all three countries identified a wide range of benefits from urban trees, mental health benefits and urban biodiversity were emphasised.
The majority of survey respondents thought that tree cover in their town or city was about right, but around a third thought there could be more tree cover, or they would like to see bigger trees.
Urban trees in all settings were appreciated, but those in urban parks and similar settings were seen as the most beneficial.
Support for tree planting in urban areas was generally high, with a general consensus that government money and finance raised by polluting businesses and activities should cover costs of planting and managing trees.
In some cases respondents noted the need for equity in planning tree cover into areas that currently have fewer street trees, woodlands and greenspaces with trees.
There was recognition that urban trees could have disbenefits, e.g. alongside roads and railways lines, but good quality management of trees was seen to mitigate against these.
About 50% of people felt more connected to urban trees since the COVID lockdowns, and many felt attached to trees through folk stories and sayings and personal childhood memories of interaction with particular trees.
There were differences by age, gender and ethnicity, and by region or country, for some of the questions asked, but the statistical significance of these was very small in most cases.
Report summarising key findings from the Focus Group discussions (see ‘Downloads’ below)
Article in ICF magazine Trees, Winter 2021 edition
Additional outputs in the form of a journal paper/s are planned for 2022
The page summarises Forest Research’s work to identify the social and cultural values of street trees and determine the formal and informal rules and regulations that influence their management.