Delivering a multi-functional and resilient urban forest

Hale, James and Pugh, Thomas and Sadler, Jon and Boyko, Christopher Thomas and Brown, Julie and Caputo, Silvio and Caserio, Maria and Coles, Richard and Farmani, Raziyeh and Hales, A. Chantal and Horsey, Russell and Hunt, Dexter V. L. and Leach, Joanne M. and Rogers, Christopher D.F. (2015) Delivering a multi-functional and resilient urban forest. Sustainability, 7 (4). pp. 4600-4624. ISSN 2071-1050

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Tree planting is widely advocated and applied in urban areas, with large-scale projects underway in cities globally. Numerous potential benefits are used to justify these planting campaigns. However, reports of poor tree survival raise questions about the ability of such projects to deliver on their promises over the long-term. Each potential benefit requires different supporting conditions—relating not only to the type and placement of the tree, but also to the broader urban system within which it is embedded. This set of supporting conditions may not always be mutually compatible and may not persist for the lifetime of the tree. Here, we demonstrate a systems-based approach that makes these dependencies, synergies, and tensions more explicit, allowing them to be used to test the decadal-scale resilience of urban street trees. Our analysis highlights social, environmental, and economic assumptions that are implicit within planting projects; notably that high levels of maintenance and public support for urban street trees will persist throughout their natural lifespan, and that the surrounding built form will remain largely unchanged. Whilst the vulnerability of each benefit may be highly context specific, we identify approaches that address some typical weaknesses, making a functional, resilient, urban forest more attainable.

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© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (
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?? urbanforesttreeresilientresilienceecosystem servicesscenariossystemsfuturesrenewable energy, sustainability and the environmentmanagement, monitoring, policy and lawgeography, planning and development ??
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22 Feb 2016 09:42
Last Modified:
29 Jun 2024 23:50