Wisconsin Statewide Urban Forest Assessment: Development and Implementation
Brown, Ian K.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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The urban forest is an integral part and significant contributor to urban landscapes. Approximately 80% of the US population interacts with urban forests on a daily basis. The ecologic, sociologic, and economic benefits provided by urban trees have been shown to be worth billions of dollars. Urban forestry has been recognized within the scientific literature for over 30 years. As public education pertaining to the urban forest continues, it has become clear that a lack of a standardized definition complicates transmission of the message. This study used a content analysis of 77 scientific and reference articles to determine the primary constituents comprising definitions of the urban forest and urban forestry. We discovered that urban forestry definitions created since the first by Jorgensen are either similar or partial representations of his. Likewise, definitions of the urban forest created since Moeller have neither added to his or were partial representations. This study also developed spatial definitions of the urban forest. A programmatic spatial definition to delineate the areas considered urban by the Wisconsin DNR Urban and Community forestry program was developed and compared to areas spatially represented by urban areas in the 2000 census using ESRI Arc 9.1 software. It was determined that the most representative spatial extent at this time comprised both the 2000 census urban areas and all cities and all villages within Wisconsin. With the standard urban forest definition and programmatic spatial representation, this study makes contributions to both the theoretical and application components of urban forest research.