Developing a municipal urban forestry program: a systematic planning process
Urban forests in North American cities are in decline; these forests are the primary forest with which the urbanized 80% of North American population interacts with on a regular basis. Unlike self sustaining rural forests, urban forests need to be intensely managed. Many municipalities in North America lack planning and policy legislation that addresses sustainable urban forest management. To ascertain best practices, this study reviews literature related to the social, ecological, and economic considerations that are inherent to the urban forest. This literature review is coupled with the examination of five municipalities possessing model urban forestry programs. Based on this study, a systematic planning process is proposed as well as a list of 12 priority topics that need to be addressed in the development of an urban forest management plan. This study provides stewards of the urban forest such as municipal planners, urban foresters, and landscape architects with a document that can assist in sustaining the urban forest.