Urban forests provide ecosystem services that contribute to human health, liveability and sustainability. The management of trees influences the delivery of these ecosystem services and thus helps determine the total benefit provided by an urban forest. This Research Note summarises two Research Reports that assessed the delivery of regulating ecosystem services by 30 tree species common to the urban environment in the UK:
The importance of characteristics such as tree size, stature and condition on ecosystem services delivery are examined, and how these vary across different species. Using academic, industry, central and local government sources, the implications of management practices for ecosystem services delivery by individual trees are discussed, as well as the cumulative impact of the whole urban forest. This is achieved by considering key drivers and vital practices in the four key stages of urban tree management, namely, species selection, planting and establishment, maintenance, and removal.
The findings illustrate that management practices influence ecosystem services delivery by urban forests through selection of the trees planted, how trees are maintained, and when and for what reasons trees are removed. Healthy large trees are shown to provide the greatest quantities of ecosystem services per tree, emphasising the importance of urban forest management that values and protects these trees. However, constraints and challenges can inhibit the proactive management of urban trees.