Urban Forestry & Urban Greening

Published by Elsevier
Print ISSN: 1618-8667
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Location of the cities included in the survey. Each city number corresponds with the number in Table 2 (Nordiska Ministerr( adet, 1984).
Present age structure of hardwoods in the urban woodlands by area as reported by the responding managers. The sum of categories in each bar is 100%. The cities are sorted by latitude, and the grey dotted line signifies the southern limit of the boreal forest vegetation zone.
Silvicultural systems used in the urban woodlands by allocated area in the last 5 years prior to 2001 as reported by the responding managers. The sum of categories in each bar is 100%. The cities are sorted by latitude, and the grey dotted line signifies the southern limit of the boreal forest vegetation zone.
A postal questionnaire survey about the forest situation and management in urban woodland was carried out around the three largest urban agglomerations in each of the five Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Twenty estate managements responded, giving a respondent rate of 54%. Our material from 13 cities includes 108,888 ha productive forests, representing approximately 13% of all urban woodland areas in the Nordic region. The tree species composition in the urban woodland areas largely reflected the typical tree species distribution in the respective vegetation zones. It is expected that the percentage of Fagus sylvatica and Quercus spp. in the nemoral zone, and boreal hardwoods will increase in the future. The proportion of young and middle-aged forests is high in all urban woodlands, despite the focus on old forests in urban woodland management policy and research since the 1970s. Current silvicultural systems belonging to even-aged forestry prevail in most cities. However, the use of clear-cutting has decreased over the last 30 years. A conservative felling policy makes it likely that the proportion of old stands will increase. Various restrictions on forest management are briefly discussed. Reasons for changes in silvicultural practices differ from city to city, but recreation and conservation are most commonly reported.
 
In order to study decay, and to improve the management and protection of old urban trees, a total of 256 felled urban trees were examined during 2001–2003: 95 Tilia spp., 74 Betula spp., and 87 Acer spp. Most of the trees (73%) were located in the main parks and along the main streets in the downtown area of Helsinki City, Finland. The mean age of the trees was over 60 years, and the majority (64%) were old park trees. Poor condition and increasing risk of failure were the main reasons for felling in 82% of the cases. Thirty three percent of these trees were degenerated or dead, but the amenity value of 14% of the risk trees was still high. The latter were old, big trees which posed a potential hazard, but had a vital and balanced crown.Some characteristic profiles for potential failure were identified for each of the tree species studied: Ganoderma lipsiense in the butts and hollows in the stems of Tilia spp., weak fork formations together with Rigidoporus populinus on Acer spp., and degeneration together with decay in the stem on Betula spp.Decay fungi most commonly identified were R. populinus, G. lipsiense, Inonotus obliquus and Piptoporus betulinus. In addition, Kretzschmaria deusta was very common in three of the parks, and on every one of the tree species investigated.
 
Arborists and managers of amenity trees could benefit from an improved understanding of how tree canopies withstand loading events such as wind, snow or ice. Knowledge of how material properties change along tree branches is important in understanding how a branch tips can bend in the wind yet resist displacement at the base which could lead to branch failure. Limited knowledge of modulus of elasticity (E or stiffness) in branch wood is available in the literature and is typically measured at only one location on a branch. This study investigated variation of E and density-specific E (E/ρ) at five locations along the axis of 20 branches from seven trees. E and E/ρ were found to be 70% lower at the branch tips than in the proximal locations. The variation in E was negatively correlated with the percentage of tissue area composed of vessels and positively correlated with mean fiber cell wall size, suggesting a balance between the two principle functions of hydraulics and mechanics. Reaction wood was observed in the form of gelatinous layers in fibers along the branch tops, but did not result in a difference in E between the top and bottoms at each branch location. It is proposed that differences in material properties are probably related to wood development type, as juvenile wood is considered to have lower stiffness than mature wood.
 
There is a pan-European interest in increasing the amount of woodland cover, particularly in areas close to urban populations. However, in the enthusiasm for planting trees, is enough forethought given to visual aspects of woodland stand interiors? This paper conceptualises and assesses visual aspects of planting designs and silvicultural principles across three contemporary forest management paradigms: the commercial, the nature-based, and the urban paradigm. Planting design models and silvicultural treatments were conceptualised from a review combined with case studies. Using profile diagrams, we made visual representations of planting design and stand development, as basis for ‘expert’ assessment of four visual criteria: scale, diversity, naturalness and visual accessibility. The assessment was done for the young stage (0–25 years) and the mature stage (50–90 years) separately, using a qualitative three-step scale: limited, medium, and extended. Seven different planting design models were identified. Three of these originate from the urban paradigm: the seed source model, the density gradient model, and the habitat model. Another three originate from the nature-based paradigm: the natural succession model, the nature-based shortcut model, and the direct approach model. Only one model originates from the commercial paradigm: the monoculture model. The assessment showed that visual aspects vary considerably between planting designs and silvicultural systems. The monoculture model offers the splendour of the mature pillar hall with free views and movements, however, necessitating an obvious plantation stage in its youth. In contrast, models utilising succession and variation in species, age and tree spacing offers an extended experience of diversity and naturalness – even in the young stages. These visual qualities are discussed in relation to future perspectives for urban afforestation across urban woodland zones.
 
Arbor Day, or Week, is a well-established greening initiative worldwide, focusing on tree planting and the benefits thereof. Frequently most effort is targeted at institutions such as schools and community groups. Yet there has been limited assessment of the success of Arbor Day, or Week, activities both at the schools, or the wider dissemination in neighbouring communities and suburbs. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of school-based Arbor Week activities on learners’ home-based practices regarding tree planting and urban forestry. Learners from three schools in Grahamstown South Africa, with good Arbor Week participation, were assessed on their tree planting knowledge. The learners’ parents were also interviewed to determine whether the information obtained by the learners at school was taken home. A control group consisting of people with no children or very young children was also assessed. This study found that Arbor Week activities were, for the most part, successfully taught in the case study schools, and most of the learners stated that their knowledge of trees and their benefits came from their school activities. However, many learners could not remember the activities in which their schools partook the previous year. Whilst most learners were aware of the importance of trees, few had encouraged tree planting at home. However, over one-fifth of adults claimed that their knowledge of the benefits of trees was as a consequence of Arbor Day activities when they were young. Numerous constraints to tree planting were provided by learners and both the adult groups, the two most frequent being limited space and falling leaves making their yards untidy. External organisations should become more actively involved and provide much needed support systems if greening initiatives are to reach the wider community.
 
A rehabilitation project in a forest environment was carried out in a collaboration between Skogsstyrelsen (The Swedish Forest Agency), Arbetslivsresurs (a state-owned company running work rehabilitation, making individual strategy plans) and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU, Alnarp. Out of a group of 34 participants, 24 volunteered to be part of the research survey. Most of the participants had been on the sick list for a long time and suffered from depression and anxiety disorders. The interventions proceeded for 10 weeks and were held within a short distance from a smaller town in central Sweden. Three groups were set up to participate in the study: two groups during autumn 2006, followed by a short evaluation, and a third group during spring 2007. We have used a triangulation approach to evaluate the study, including both qualitative and quantitative methods. The qualitative results suggest that it was a successful project, in that most of the participants enjoyed the program and experienced a general improvement in both their physical and mental state. However, toward the end of the program they had considerable worries about the future. The quantitative results show that: Participants improved concerning symptoms of illness and general functioning, but their quality of life declined. We suggest that the decline in quality of life at the end of the intervention depended upon the participants’ life situation after rehabilitation. This could be due to returning to uncertain life situations such as work, family, financial support, etc.
 
A field survey assessed the restorative effects of visiting an urban forest and a city park in Zurich, Switzerland. Respondents rated their headaches, level of stress, and how balanced they felt both prior to visiting the outdoor location and at the time of being interviewed. Suffering from headaches and stress decreased significantly, and feeling well-balanced increased significantly. The recovery ratio for stress was 87%, and the reduction in headaches was 52%, in terms of the possible improvements on five-point rating scales. With respect to feeling well-balanced, the observed changes amounted to 40% of the possible enhancement. Positive effects increased with length of visit, and individuals practising sports (e.g., jogging, biking, playing ball) showed significantly higher improvements than those engaged in less strenuous activities (e.g., taking a walk or relaxing). These findings support previous research on how exercise in green spaces promotes well-being and recovery from stress.
 
An important objective of forest science today is to better serve the cultural and recreational needs of a growing urban population. Forests are complex open systems with multiple functions and to maintain credibility among the public, people in charge of the management of urban forests need to draw on the expertise of a variety of scientific disciplines, not only the humanities, but increasingly also the forest engineering and forest biological sciences. The multi-disciplinary character of forest research can be utilized to achieve a more effective interface between science and politics.The objective of the paper is to present a system for silvicultural management of forests within urban landscapes. The system includes three elements:1. Forest Options Planning, using suitable tools for generating and evaluating silvicultural management options;2. Management Demonstration and Referencing, based on a network of managed and unmanaged field plots;3. Silvicultural Event Analysis, involving preventative evaluation of silvicultural activities based on event-oriented resource assessment.It is concluded that, considering their social and cultural importance, the forests within the growing urban landscapes are hardly receiving the scientific attention they deserve.
 
In the planning processes of urban forests there are frequent conflicting opinions about the extent to which forests should be managed. On the one hand, management is needed to deal with the intensive use of forests, as well as unfavourable growing conditions, security factors and aesthetic variables. On the other hand, there is an increasing demand for unmanaged areas which is based primarily on ecological arguments. This paper presents research that was conducted in connection with the participatory planning process of Helsinki City forests. The main aim of this research was to study whether aesthetic and ecological values can be combined in the management of urban forests. Furthermore, the stability of forest landscape preferences during the participatory planning process was studied, along with the representativeness of planning groups compared to larger user groups. The data was collected in planning group meetings and public hearings in Helsinki during 1998–2000. Respondents evaluated a set of photographs designed to cover the main conflict situations in urban forest management: Thinnings, understorey management, the leaving of dead snags and decaying ground-wood.
 
Urban areas in developing countries will accommodate nearly 90% of the projected world population increase between 1995 and 2030. Despite this, few studies, especially in smaller towns, have been carried out on urban green space areas in the developing world. This paper makes a first step in this regard, reporting on the extent and state of urban green spaces within 10 small towns in the Eastern Cape (South Africa). After measuring the size and state (in terms of woody plant cover) of public green space, we then sought patterns across the 10 towns between green space attributes, such as area, density, mean size and proportion of alien or indigenous, with socio-economic attributes of the towns. The area and state of current public green space varied markedly between the towns, with the poorer towns faring the worst. Lower income levels were significantly negatively correlated with the area and quality of public green space. Despite this, human population density and per capita green space were the best predictors of the proportion and mean area of public green space present in the towns. The proportion of town green space and the per capita green space were the best predictors of changes in woody plant composition and density.
 
Apartheid housing policies of the pre-1994 South African government, and the low-cost high-density housing programmes of the post-1994 government, have given rise to numerous urban environmental problems, some of which could be addressed in a cost-effective and sustainable manner through urban greening, while simultaneously promoting biodiversity. Public participation in the planning of urban greening has been identified as being of vital importance, without which urban greening projects run a high, and expensive, risk of failure. Previous studies indicate that the greening priorities of residents in low-cost high-density housing settlements may differ considerably from those of managers and experts tasked with the protection and extension of the natural environment resource base. A system of participatory decision support is therefore required to reconcile the greening requirements of the community, and the ecological benefits of biodiversity. If language, literacy, map literacy and numeracy difficulties are to be avoided, and a sense of place or belonging is to be invoked, such a participatory decision support system should, ideally, be visually based and capable of generating realistic eye-level depictions of the urban landscape. New computer-based landscape visualisation applications, which can directly utilise geographical information systems (GIS), computer-aided design (CAD) and Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data to produce detailed photo-realistic viewsheds, were deemed better suited to the task of visualising urban greening than existing GIS-based mapping systems, CAD and traditional landscape visualisation methods. This paper examines the process of constructing a 3D computer model of the Mount Royal low-cost high-density housing settlement, situated in the eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Visualisations including terrain, natural features, indigenous vegetation, houses and roads were produced and submitted, with a questionnaire, to experts from different disciplines, Mount Royal residents and neighbours. Results from the expert survey indicate moderate support for visualisation in professional decision-making. Both experts and residents expressed strong support for the accuracy and credibility of the visualisations, as well as for their potential in a participatory decision support system.
 
Urban nature conservation issues in South Africa are overshadowed by the goal to improve human well-being, which focuses on aspects such as poverty, equity, redistribution of wealth and wealth creation. The growing need for urban employment is closely associated with the increase of squatting and informal settlements along the urban fringe, which contributes to habitat fragmentation and sprawling of cities. This increasing urbanisation is one of the main threats to biodiversity in the Grassland biome as the natural vegetation in and around cities in the North-West Province of South Africa is destroyed at an alarming rate. The lack of detailed ecological data is a major problem in the implementation of conservation-orientated policies in urban planning and management. This paper gives a brief overview of urban nature conservation in the world, the obstacles to implementation in South Africa and the importance of socio-economics and environmental legislation. We focus specifically on projects involving phytosociological studies and biotope mapping in cities in the western Grassland Biome of the North West Province. The visible presence of native vegetation is essential and integral to urban nature conservation. There is a vital need to present urban environmental data in a format that is convincing and useful to decision makers. We propose an integrated approach towards urban ecological studies culminating in effective urban nature conservation.
 
Amelioration of global warming presents opportunities for urban forests to act as carbon sinks, and thereby could possibly be included in the potential future carbon trade industry. The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality provided a strategy in 2002 to plant 115,200 indigenous street trees in the period 2002–2008. These trees hold a monetary carbon value in their potential future growth. In order to calculate the carbon sequestration potential, the growth rates of Combretum erythrophyllum, Searsia lancea and Searsia pendulina were determined. Combined species growth regressions of C. erythrophyllum–S. lancea and S. lancea–S. pendulina are also presented. Combretum erythrophyllum has the fastest growth rate while those of S. lancea and S. pendulina are slower. The results from growth regression relationships were used in a generic allometric biomass regression to calculate the carbon sequestration rate of each species, which was extrapolated to determine the total quantity of carbon to be sequestrated by the street trees over a 30-year period (2002–2032). It is estimated that the tree planting will result in 200,492 tonnes CO2 equivalent reduction and that 54,630 tonnes carbon will be sequestrated. The carbon dioxide reductions could be valued at more than US$ 3,000,000. But this estimate should also be viewed in the context of the limitations presented in this study. This illustrates that when future carbon trade becomes operational for urban forests these forests could become a valuable source of revenue for the urban forestry industry, especially in developing countries.
 
There are few formal studies on the contribution of botanical gardens as urban green spaces, particularly within developing countries. Therefore, this paper reports on an assessment of the use and appreciation of botanical gardens as urban green spaces in South Africa. Users and staff were surveyed in six national botanical gardens. The gardens provided numerous benefits in terms of conservation, education and recreation. However, the people using the gardens were not demographically representative of the general population of the surrounding city or town. Generally, most of the visitors were middle- to old-aged, well-educated professionals with medium to high incomes. Most were white and English was their home language. There was an even gender representation. Most visited only a few times per year. The majority of users visited the gardens for recreation and psychological reasons rather than educational ones. However, the staff of each garden placed emphasis on education in the gardens and amongst surrounding schools. Most visitors appreciated the conservation dimensions of botanical gardens, and felt that there was insufficient public green space in their town or city. Understanding how people perceive and use the botanical gardens of South Africa is important to inform future research and strategies regarding the conservation of urban green space within a developing country.
 
Recent years have seen the introduction of the concept of urban greening, defined as embracing the planning and management of all urban vegetation to create or add values to the local community. Green-space development has become recognised by international agencies and donors as important tool in improving the quality of urban livelihoods and urban environment. This paper evaluates an example of an urban greening aid project, carried out by Danish and Russian partners in the city of St. Petersburg, Russia. The project aimed to contribute to conservation and development of the cultural–historical, social and ecological values of St. Petersburg's urban green areas by implementing a structured, socially inclusive, well-informed planning and management approach. The project had three main components: (1) the development of a GIS-based information system to assist green-space planning and management; (2) on-site improvements in selected green areas and (3) awareness raising and public involvement activities. Ex post evaluation of the project showed that in spite of the limits of time and resources, important results were achieved. A more strategic approach to urban green-space planning and management, as promoted by urban greening, was adapted by some of the Russian project partners. Achievements also included notable physical improvements to one park. But the main project impacts were improved communication and collaboration between the local park department and local academia, as well as expertise developed in running a complex urban greening project. The project failed, however, in its public involvement ambitions.Moreover, the project should have facilitated discussion on some of the current premises of urban green-space planning and management in St. Petersburg, which insufficiently consider changing values and public preferences related to green spaces.
 
Tree planting has been proposed by the municipal government as a measure to alleviate air pollution in Beijing, the capital of China. This study examines that proposal. It is based on the analyses of satellite images and field surveys to establish the characteristics of current urban forest in the central part of Beijing. The influence of the urban forest on air quality was studied using the Urban Forest Effects Model. The results show that there are 2.4 million trees in the central part of Beijing. The diameter distribution of the trees is skewed toward small diameters. The urban forest is dominated by a few species. The condition of trees in the central part of Beijing is not ideal; about 29% of trees were classified as being in poor condition. The trees in the central part of Beijing removed 1261.4 tons of pollutants from the air in 2002. The air pollutant that was most reduced was PM10 (particulate matters with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 10 μm), the reduction amounted to 772 tons. The carbon dioxide (CO2) stored in biomass form by the urban forest amounted to about 0.2 million tons. Future research directions to improve our understanding of the role of individual tree species in air pollution reduction are discussed.
 
Annual pollution removal (1994) by trees and associated value in 55 US cities
Estimated percent air quality improvement in selected US cities due to air pollution removal by urban trees
Air pollution removal and value for all urban trees in the coterminous United States
A modeling study using hourly meteorological and pollution concentration data from across the coterminous United States demonstrates that urban trees remove large amounts of air pollution that consequently improve urban air quality. Pollution removal (O3, PM10, NO2, SO2, CO) varied among cities with total annual air pollution removal by US urban trees estimated at 711,000 metric tons ($3.8 billion value). Pollution removal is only one of various ways that urban trees affect air quality. Integrated studies of tree effects on air pollution reveal that management of urban tree canopy cover could be a viable strategy to improve air quality and help meet clean air standards.
 
Transplanting recovery of urban trees is an essential first step in their acclimation from nursery to challenging urban growing sites. Changes in crown allometry during this period are not well known. We followed annual shoot extension, crown structure and leaf area of Alnus glutinosa and Tilia × vulgaris street trees for six years from transplanting into their growing site. The growing site of Tilia trees suffered from excessive soil moisture whereas the Alnus site was more normal regarding soil water relations with periods of drought. The transplanting recovery of Tilia trees was delayed due to the deleterious influence of excessive soil water, but Alnus trees recovered substantially within the first 2–3 years. Leaf area in relation to branch basal area changed throughout the research period, indicating tree adaptation to new growing conditions.
 
Urban forestry is generally defined as the art, science and technology of managing trees and forest resources in and around urban community ecosystems for the physiological, sociological, economic, and aesthetic benefits trees provide society. First mentioned in the United States as early as in 1894, the concept underwent a revival during the 1960s as a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to the specific challenges related to growing trees in urban environments. Later, urban forestry evoked the interest of scientists and practitioners in other parts of the world. However, harmonization of urban forestry terminology has been complicated by, for example, the involvement of different disciplines and translation difficulties. In many European languages, for example, the direct translation of ‘urban forestry’ relates more to forest ecosystems than to street and park trees. Efforts in North America and Europe defining ‘urban forest’, ‘urban forestry’ and related terms are introduced. A comparative analysis of selected urban forestry terminology in both parts of the world shows that urban forestry has a longer history in North America, based on traditions of shade tree management. Moreover, urban forestry has become more institutionalized in North America. Urban forestry in Europe has built strongly on a century-long tradition of ‘town forestry’. In both parts of the world, definitions of urban forestry and urban forest have become more comprehensive, including all tree stands and individual trees in and around urban areas. Agreement also exists on the multifunctional and multidisciplinary character of urban forestry. These similarities offer opportunities for international harmonization of terminology.
 
A GIS-based method for locating potential tree-planting sites based on land cover data is introduced. Criteria were developed to identify locations that are spatially available for potential tree planting based on land cover, sufficient distance from impervious surfaces, a minimum amount of pervious surface, and no crown overlap with other trees. In an ArcGIS environment, a computer program was developed to iteratively search, test, and locate potential tree-planting sites by virtually planting large, medium and small trees on plantable areas, with large trees given priority as more benefits are expected to accrue to them. A study in Los Angeles, USA found 2.2 million potential planting sites, approximately 109.3 km2 of potential tree canopy cover.
 
Location of the study area (Angers and Saint Nicolas Park) and the square cells used to carry out sampling in the whole city.
Distribution of the three species of Polypodium within the whole city. Thick lines indicate the localisation of Saint Nicolas Park. (a) P. vulgare; (b) P. interjectum; and (c) P. cambricum. Grey areas indicate that no Polypodium species were recorded. Hatched cases indicate the location of the Lac de Maine wetland. White areas indicate that some of the Polypodium species were recorded. Black circles indicate where the species of figure (a), (b), or (c) were recorded.
Distribution of the three species of Polypodium within Saint Nicolas Park; (K) P. vulgare; (m) P. interjectum; and (&) P. cambricum.
Comparison of the frequency of the three species of Polypodium on only the rocky substratum and between the two sections of Saint Nicolas Park: upstream section which is close to rural area, and downstream section which is close to urban centre.
Frequencies of the ecological characteristics of the Polypodium species recorded P. cambricum P. interjectum P. vulgare
The preservation of wild plants and animals in urban environments can be a good means to meet the demand for natural areas for recreational purposes. However, the impacts of urbanisation on native species distribution are poorly studied. A city environment has high impact on vegetal community dynamics, especially in terms of climate modification, level of perturbationand pattern of dispersion. We chose to study the three indigenous species of the genus Polypodium that are known to grow in a wide range of habitats, including forest and urban environments, and exhibit a priori a strong ability for dispersal. The aim of the study was to evaluate the factors involved in the Polypodium species distribution and to determine whether this distribution was influenced by the rural–urban gradient. The distribution of the three fern species was investigated in the city of Angers (France) at two levels: for a park (urban woodland) and for the whole city. A contrasted distribution of the three Polypodies has been recorded and shows a rural–urban gradient. This can be explained by the ecology of each species and some biological traits. It means that differences in the spatial structure of the city lead to particular patterns of distribution for these plants. Thus, preserved indigenous vegetation may be influenced in its species composition by the surrounding urban development.
 
The natural dynamics of urban woodlands are seldom discussed despite the general acknowledgement that understanding of natural processes is a prerequisite for successful management of ecosystems. This paper reviews the non-anthropogenic dynamic factors, and anthropogenic changes in them, in urban woodlands. Several gaps in the knowledge are identified: (1) amount of tree regeneration and factors affecting it, (2) seedbed availability for poor competitors, (3) wind as a dynamic factor, (4) insect outbreak severity, (5) effect of urban climate on tree regeneration, (6) pollination and dispersal and (7) effect of herbivory on tree regeneration. It is concluded that natural dynamics drive regeneration in urban woodlands, but the disturbance regime and successional pathways may be altered. Natural colonisation of derelict land and natural dynamics in existing woodlands are beneficial because of decreased management costs, and the biodiversity, educational, recreational and psychological values they provide.
 
Urban forests, trees and other green spaces are thought to contribute significantly to certain psychophysical and social needs of urban dwellers. Recent studies on citizens’ perceptions and behaviour toward urban green areas have shown the complexity and the multidimensional character of the man-nature relationship in the city; inhabitants’ use of green spaces appears to be motivated by the need for psychological health with relevant social implications. In this paper, we describe two empirical studies that have been independently conducted and recently published by Italian urban foresters and environmental psychologists. By comparing the two studies in terms of approach, materials, methods and results, we seek to find out if urban foresters and environmental psychologists in Italy approach and interpret the psychological and social (P&S) dimensions of urban green spaces differently. Results show that urban foresters have applied substantially different approaches and research methods than environmental psychologists. This can be explained from their different backgrounds and perspectives. We conclude by discussing some basic hints and implications for enhancing the P&S benefits of urban forests through collaborative projects and scientific co-operation between urban foresters and environmental psychologists.
 
Although contracting-out has become widespread among the OECD countries in the last couple of decades, there is limited knowledge about the arrangements chosen by urban green-space managers when contracting-out. In this paper, I take our current knowledge a step forward and present a comprehensive overview of the ‘infrastructure’ of contract designs used for contracting-out in urban green-space management. On the backdrop of a cross-national sample of a total of 14 cases from four countries, I build up a ‘toolbox’ of instruments, approaches and arrangements currently used by public clients for managing contracts with private contractors. In six major categories of instrument, I distinguish 41 specific instruments, and 15 embedded approaches for managing these instruments. Both instruments and approaches are grouped into standard and advanced kinds. Arrangements are categorized into three major types. Each type is characterized by a core combination of instruments and approaches and a limited range of variants. Finally, I explore national differences and organizational reasons supporting and directing the choice of overall contractual arrangement. For both the practitioner and the researcher, the paper can be used to inspect, compare, design and develop instruments, approaches and arrangements available in the toolbox of urban green-space management.
 
There is a growing body of evidence indicating that exposure to, and activities in, nature have beneficial effects on human health. Since a majority of people in many countries live in urban areas, availability and use of urban green areas is of increasing importance to public health. In the present study we measured urban residents’ (Trondheim, Norway) recreational preferences for urban park landscapes varying in vegetation density, and aimed at an identification of background variables and environmental value orientations that we hypothesised to influence such preferences. The results showed that moderately dense scenes received the highest preference ratings. Socio-demographic variables and value orientations predicted preferences for moderate to densely vegetated scenes: A curvi-linear effect of age of respondents was found, with subjects in their mid-40s expressing a higher preference for moderate to dense vegetation, compared to younger and older subjects. Preference for moderate to dense vegetation also increased as the educational levels of the respondents increased. The preference was lower among people living in apartment blocks, relative to those living in detached houses. Of attitudinal and value-related variables, interest in wildlife, and pro-ecological value orientation (measured with the NEP scale) predicted preference for urban parks with moderate and dense vegetation. The existence of preference for relatively dense vegetation in urban parks in segments of the population has consequences for the designing of urban parks in Norway.
 
The establishment and management of urban trees require expert knowledge and experience. The Urban Tree Arboretum (UTA) was established in Hørsholm, Denmark, to improve basic and advanced education for students and professionals working with tree establishment and management. The UTA presents 120 tree species and cultivars suitable for urban plantings. The trees were established in 2001 in replicates of three or six. Different pruning treatments allow for a comparison of their effect on the trees: formative pruning, shape pruning (topiary), pollarding and non-pruned. Tree dimensions are measured yearly and made available on the website www.bytraearboretet.dk. The website also offers photographic documentation of the trees and their tree features as well as a reference list open for entries by the public. The UTA is integrated part of several courses at the University of Copenhagen and has in 2007 and 2008 been visited by 570 external visitors on 27 guided tours.
 
Latvian legislation demands that forest protection belts are established around all cities and towns. The main goal of a protection belt is to provide suitable opportunities for recreation to urban dwellers and to minimise any negative impacts caused by urban areas on the surrounding environment. Legislation states the main principles to be adopted, which include the maximum area of protection belts, their integration in territorial development plans and restrictions placed on forest management activities. The largest part of the forest area around Riga is owned by the municipality of Riga, which, as a result, has two competing interests: to satisfy the recreational needs of the inhabitants of Riga, and to maximise the income from its property. In order to compile sufficient background information to solve this problem, the Board of Forests of Riga Municipality initiated the preparation of a proposal for the designation of a new protection belt.The proposal was based on the development and application of a theoretical framework developed during the 1980s. The analysis of the recreational value of the forest (5 classes of attractiveness) was carried out based on categories of forest type, dominant tree species, dominant age, stand density, distance from urban areas and the presence of attractive objects. Information was derived from forest inventory databases, digital forest maps and topographic maps. Additional information was digitised and processed using ArcView GIS 3.2. Local foresters were asked about the recreation factors unique to different locations, such as the number of visitors and the main recreation activities. From a recreational point of view and taking into account legal restrictions and development plans for the Riga region, it was proposed to create three types of zones in the forest: a protection belt, visually sensitive areas and non-restricted areas.
 
This article deals with the process of change from industrial land to recreational area on a 60 ha piece of land 12 km southeast of Malmö, southern Sweden, called Lake Arrie. The area is an abandoned gravel quarry in the midst of an agricultural landscape. We present a short background and the current situation in Arrie, setting out to capture the tendencies of the contemporary construction of nature for outdoor recreation. We then move on to discuss the salutogenic aspects of outdoor recreation, and how these can be traced in the actual landscape at Arrie. Furthermore, we open the discussion on diversity as a cherished post-modern ideal both in nature and culture. Different interests and ideologies may cause conflicts in the planning process. To capture the multitude of voices emanating among stakeholders, the process to extract local opinions through participatory processes is presented. The social and political categorisation of an area reflects the needs of a changing society. In the early industrial era, the area was an enclave of industrial ground in a completely rural setting. In the post-industrial era, it turned into a ‘wasteland’, open for nature to recolonise. This type of landscape is difficult to categorise, being an ‘inbetween-land’, neither nature nor culture, perceived as ephemeral and inferior. At the same time, the city sprawled closer, with the semi-urban populations’ need for outdoor recreation. In future, the former industrial ground will be perceived as an enclave of nature in an urban setting. When the former products of the area responded to the industrial need for gravel and limestone, the contemporary ‘products’ respond to emotional needs.
 
This paper presents a study of woodland management guidelines analysed for their inclusion of visual aspects. The aim of the study was to identify approaches towards the management of visual aspects in urban woodland. For the study, 24 management guidelines from Sweden and the UK were reviewed for scale, degree of operational detail, the visual concepts used, their emphasis and justification. The review revealed that there exists a diversity of approaches towards managing visual aspects regarding the selection and emphasis of visual concepts as well as the scale at which they are applied and degree of operationality. Some general differences between Sweden and the UK where identified. These differences in treatment of visual aspects were mainly related to the use of different scale levels, different levels of abstraction and the basis for justifying the importance of visual qualities in management. These differences are discussed in relation to the wider management context, including landowner structure, landscape history and forestry traditions. We conclude that studying urban woodland management in another context (e.g. geographical and historical) can provide new insights for visual management. We also believe that transferring management strategies across cultures will result in them being altered at the policy and operational levels by the change of context. We further suggest that the use of visual concept could provide one approach for better integration of visual qualities in urban woodland management.
 
The limited tree diversity in urban areas increases the likelihood of mass mortality from outbreaks of insects and disease. Although information is available on pest susceptibility of individual tree species, it is difficult to determine from such data the vulnerability of a multi-species assemblage, such as an urban forest, to insects and diseases, or to assess the effects of either changing the tree species composition or the arrival of new pests. Our model, the Pest Vulnerability Matrix (PVM), enables municipal arborists and urban foresters to evaluate the overall vulnerability of their urban forest, to display this information and communicate it to others, and to evaluate the potential effects of emerging pests and diseases. PVM is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that provides a means for rapid graphic display of the interaction between tree species diversity and the susceptibility of the urban forest to pests by displaying each tree–pest interaction as a colored cell in a table. PVM calculates the percentage of trees affected by each insect or disease, and enables the urban forester to quickly identify (1) the most important pests and (2) the most vulnerable tree species. The model is designed to be flexible and easily modified by the user, and includes several newly emerging pests to allow the exploration of future “worst-case” scenarios. Two case studies of Northern California cities are presented demonstrating two potential applications of PVM. We conclude with a brief overview of the diversity–stability debate in the context of urban forests.
 
Biodiversity is a significant element of our everyday experience of urban environments, though it is generally only perceived subconsciously. Thus, there is a need to develop a method for defining and measuring experienced biodiversity. As a first step towards such a method, a semantic test was presented to a group of 102 participants. The test consisted of a form containing words/expressions selected as possible components of biodiversity. The participants rated the words on a five-grade scale, and the form was completed at six different study sites. Statistical analyses indicated that words with biological content were strongly correlated with biodiversity, as were words associated with wilderness and variation. Correlations with words of preference were less strong. Following factor analysis, a biodiversity experience index was calculated based on the factor loadings of words strongly correlated with biological diversity. The index was then calculated for all six sites. It was suggested that the index, by measuring words/expressions with higher linguistic codability, offers a valuable tool for assessing experienced biodiversity. It was further concluded that areas containing spontaneous vegetation and water obtained higher biodiversity index scores than did areas characterized by a short-cut lawn and more uniform vegetation.
 
A review of research and research needs in urban forestry was carried out in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Norway and Sweden during 2005. A questionnaire addressing post-2000 and ongoing research was sent to 146 researchers and generated 76 completed questionnaires. Universities were found to lead urban forestry research, while municipalities headed funding organisations in terms of number of projects funded. Planning, ecological and management aspects were the most common research themes, but socially oriented research also played an important role. The research needs questionnaire was sent to 192 key research actors (assignors, users and researchers), resulting in 63 completed needs assessments. The research themes of ‘urban forest management’, ‘social and cultural values’ and ‘urban forest and green planning’ were prioritised for future research. Comparison of ongoing research and research needs showed discrepancies, as ongoing research does not always cover the same themes identified as primary research needs. Priorities for future research as identified by the research community respective those assigning and using research also differed. Economic assessment of benefits, for example, scored much higher as a need among researchers than other respondents. In terms of present weaknesses in the research ‘infrastructure’, research actors emphasised lack of funding, fragmentation of research and insufficient critical mass. The region's urban forestry research can be enhanced and made more meaningful by strengthening national and international networking within the research community, across disciplines, as well as between researchers and those commissioning and using research.
 
Many European governments place strong emphasis on integrated land use policies, particularly the re-establishment of public open access greenspaces through brownfield land regeneration. The UK Government considers the regeneration of brownfield land a prime tool for the delivery of regional economic regeneration, neighbourhood renewal and international biodiversity commitments. A number of failed brownfield greening projects question both the sustainability of such undertakings and whether greenspaces are fulfilling the functions they were designed for. Reliance on developer-, funding body- and site owner-centric notions of success in project delivery evaluation, to the exclusion of social and environmental impacts, has failed to highlight revenue requirements for management and maintenance to maintain function and quality. Brownfield greening project aims and objectives can be characterised as inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes using the general organisational ‘logic’ framework model. Applying this framework to six UK case studies, this research demonstrated that most greenspace aims and objectives are in fact ‘outcomes’ delivered in the medium and long terms following regeneration. The model is supportive of integrated, stakeholder inclusive monitoring over short, medium and long time periods. Physicochemical and social data from the case study sites were employed to present a comprehensive evaluation of site success. In each case, a lack of monitoring and evaluation – combined with insufficient supporting revenue funds – failed to highlight site issues, changes in local emphasis and ultimately a lack of success with respect to project aims and site sustainability. This research supports claims that capital funds to regenerate land must be supported by a revenue package for management and maintenance, that monitoring must be a funded activity; and, that monitoring and evaluation in support of the management cycle will promote the long-term sustainability, value and use of a greenspace.
 
The majority of older people in the UK are not sufficiently active. Since physical inactivity is a very common, yet preventable, health risk, promoting an active lifestyle is considered one of the most important health initiatives. In recent research on physical activity, an increasing interest has been paid to the role of environmental variables. Such research has demonstrated that overall characteristics of neighbourhood environments predict residents’ physical activity patterns. However, there is a limited understanding about how natural, open spaces in a neighbourhood such as parks are involved in people's activity. This study examines what aspects of neighbourhood open space are associated with walking for recreation and for transport by older people. The study sample consisted of 286 people over 65 years old living in Britain who completed a self-administered questionnaire. Logistic regression analyses were carried out to examine associations between the level of walking and six attributes of neighbourhood open space, which were identified through principal component analysis. It was found that pleasantness of open space and lack of nuisance were associated with walking for recreation, while good paths to reach open space and good facilities in open space were conducive to more walking for transport. The study suggests the possibility that enhancing these aspects of neighbourhood open spaces may contribute to active lifestyles of older adults.
 
Urban sprawl is a major driving force of land use change. To develop strategies for sustainable urban development, planners need suitable indicators, one of which is the quality and quantity of green spaces in a city. To implement conservation strategies for urban areas, an assessment of how people perceive green spaces is required. The aim of this paper is to analyze: (1) willingness to contribute financially to two types of urban green spaces, (2) how people's attitudinal and socio-economic characteristics affect this willingness, and (3) to what extent this willingness is affected by the information that green spaces are important for avifauna conservation. We found that 72% of the respondents in Montpellier, France preferred natural (versus ornamental) green spaces and wanted them to be increased in the city. To achieve this, 52% of the respondents were willing to pay a percentage of their monthly household income. Giving information about birds to residents increased their preferences (especially for those having a “favourable” attitude for urban fauna) for “natural” green spaces and increased willingness to pay for green spaces among people using green spaces at least monthly. For people less concerned about nature, there was no such effect of providing bird information on preferences for green spaces.
 
There is increasing public, industry and government interest in establishing green roofs in Australian cities due to their demonstrated environmental benefits. While a small number of green roofs have been constructed in Australia, most are roof gardens or intensive green roofs. Despite their potential as a climate change adaptation and mitigation tool and their widespread use in the northern hemisphere, there are very few examples of extensive green roofs in Australia. One of the major barriers to increasing the prevalence of extensive green roofs in Australia is the lack of scientific data available to evaluate their applicability to local conditions. Relying on European and North American experience and technology is problematic due to significant differences in climate, available substrates and plants. This paper examines green roofs in Australia, discusses the challenges to increasing their use and the major information gaps that need to be researched to progress the industry in Australia.
 
Indigenous and other native plants are commonly restricted to informal or naturalistic designed landscapes. This research project investigates the use of native plants as a formal landscape element – the hedge. A multidisciplinary approach was used with distinct horticultural and social science components. The first study explored the response of 14 native and one exotic species to hedging every 4 months. Digital imaging techniques were used to measure changes in growth, density and canopy distribution. All species responded well to hedging, greatly increasing in density. Significant differences in growth rates and shoot regrowth patterns were recorded between the species. Some hedges grown from genetically diverse plant material had noticeable morphological variations and would be more suited to use as informal hedges, however growth rates were found to be a much better predictor of hedging performance than genetic uniformity. A second study explored gardeners’ (n=162) preference for these native hedges. Photomontages were created of the hedges grown in the horticultural experiment and a photo-questionnaire distributed to several groups of gardeners. The preference results showed that many gardeners did like some Australian plants used as hedges. Significant differences in preference were found between species. A principal components analysis found that factors positively affecting preference for hedges included neatness, foliage colour (green and grey), presence of flowers and the absence of visible woody stems. In general, genetically diverse hedges were slightly less preferred than genetically uniform hedges, but some genetically diverse hedges were highly preferred. Personal style preferences based on gardeners’ expressed gardening behaviour were also observed, with grey and softer hedges preferred by those participants with low-maintenance, drought tolerant or native gardens.
 
Based on re-measurements (1999 and 2001) of randomly-distributed permanent plots within the city boundaries of Baltimore, Maryland, trees are estimated to have an annual mortality rate of 6.6% with an overall annual net change in the number of live trees of –4.2%. Tree mortality rates were significantly different based on tree size, condition, species, and land use. Morus alba, Ailanthus altissima, and trees in small diameter classes, poor condition, or in transportation or commercial – industrial land uses exhibited relatively high mortality rates. Trees in medium- to low-density residential areas exhibited low mortality rates. The high mortality rate for A. altissima is an artifact of this species distribution among land use types (24% were in the transportation land use). Based on a new tree population projection model that incorporates Baltimore's existing tree population and annual mortality estimates, along with estimates of annual tree growth, Baltimore's urban forest is projected to decline in both number of trees and canopy area over the next century. Factors affecting urban tree mortality are discussed.
 
Once renowned as India’s “garden city”, the fast growing southern Indian city of Bangalore is rapidly losing tree cover in public spaces including on roads. This study aims to study the distribution of street trees in Bangalore, to assess differences in tree density, size and species composition across roads of different widths, and to investigate changes in planting practices over time. A spatially stratified approach was used for sampling with 152 transects of 200 m length distributed across wide roads (with a width of 24 m or greater), medium sized roads (12–24 m) and narrow roads (less than 12 m). We find the density of street trees in Bangalore to be lower than many other Asian cities. Species diversity is high, with the most dominant species accounting for less than 10% of the overall population. Narrow roads, usually in congested residential neighborhoods, have fewer trees, smaller sized tree species, and a lower species diversity compared to wide roads. Since wide roads are being felled of trees across the city for road widening, this implies that Bangalore’s street tree population is being selectively denuded of its largest trees. Older trees have a more diverse distribution with several large sized species, while young trees come from a less diverse species set, largely dominated by small statured species with narrow canopies, which have a lower capacity to absorb atmospheric pollutants, mitigate urban heat island effects, stabilize soil, prevent ground water runoff, and sequester carbon. This has serious implications for the city’s environmental and ecological health. These results highlight the need to protect large street trees on wide roads from tree felling, and to select an appropriate and diverse mix of large and small sized tree species for new planting.
 
Research has shown that the context for psychological restoration and the amount of change can vary amongst adults with different mental health states. There is, however, little evidence of this process in young people. This paper reports on a study which compares the restorative outcomes for adolescents (aged 11) when spending time in an outdoor education setting (forest school) versus a conventional indoor school setting. The adolescents differed across a behavioural spectrum from ‘good’ to ‘poor’ behaviour (n = 18). Two aspects of restoration are examined, firstly mood (measuring energy, stress, anger and hedonic tone), the other, reflection on personal goals using personal project techniques (Little, 1983) to capture this. Results from repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) on each of the emotional variables showed a number of significant effects with – in each case – greater positive change in the forest setting. There were additional significant behavioural effects with those with poor behaviour benefiting most from the forest school experience. This study extends restorative environments research by showing the amount of change and context for restoration can vary amongst young people with different behaviour states.
 
A second greenbelt is currently under construction in Beijing City, the capital of China. This greenbelt will consist of tree plantations, parks and open spaces, reserved agricultural lands, and residential areas and it has been proposed as a measure to confine urban sprawl by planners and the municipal administration. In this study, the greenbelt proposal was examined by using a method combining remote sensing and analysis of archived documents. The profile of the greenbelts in Beijing, including the geographic context, the planning approach, the implementation, and the administrative framework was analyzed. Also, the spatial and temporal changes of the greenbelts in the past decade were documented through analyzing satellite images. The results show that the first greenbelt failed to contain the expansion of the city. The underestimation of urban growth and the lack of participation by key stakeholders in the planning process are two main reasons for this failure. It is still unclear whether the second greenbelt can do better than the first greenbelt at this stage. The results from this study again confirm the suggestion that urban sprawl is hard to contain with an arbitrary boundary such as a greenbelt.
 
A simple method for measuring oxygen level in the root zone of plants growing in non-saturated humidity conditions is presented. The oxygen concentration of soil air under layers of compost mulch was measured using galvanic oxygen sensors mounted in diffusion chambers and the results were compared with infrared gas analyses of soil air samples. Two trials showed that a moderate (5–10 cm) layer of compost mulch has no major effect on the oxygen level in soil under dry conditions, while a 15-cm mulch layer results in an oxygen depletion of short duration. In wet conditions, oxygen depletion under even a 5-cm layer of compost mulch results in a significant lowering of the oxygen level in soil and lasts for days in conditions of much precipitation. Root functions can be negatively affected at <10% oxygen concentration of the soil air. Compost mulch can decrease oxygen concentrations to well below this critical level in wet or poorly drained soils and thereby contribute to the stress load of urban trees. The use of galvanic oxygen sensors proved to be a simple and low-cost method for measuring soil-air oxygen.
 
There is a growing body of literature showing that physical activity and nature have a positive effect on people's health and well-being. Additionally literature indicates that there may even be a synergic benefit from being physically active whilst simultaneously being directly exposed to nature. This insight is used in recovery programmes for work related stress and mental health care settings. However, as primary care is usually people's first point of contact with the health care system, the greatest benefits for people's health can probably be obtained in primary health care settings. The aim of the present study is therefore to investigate to what extent general practitioners advise patients on physical activity and whether they refer to the additional health benefits of physical activity in a natural environment.
 
Considerable empirical and theoretical research asserts that nature and outdoor activities have restorative and therapeutic benefits. Research into the effects of environmental therapy on human behavior indicates that interaction with natural surroundings enhances well-being and encourages better health. We compared the physiological and psychological effects of climbing a live tree in a forest with those found after climbing a concrete tower of the same height in the same forest. Physiological and psychological tests were conducted on the climbers before, during, and after each climb. Physiological test results indicated that climbers’ bodies were more relaxed after tree climbing than after tower climbing. Psychological results indicated greater vitality, and reduced tension, confusion, and fatigue while tree climbing, when compared to tower climbing.
 
An ornamental tree intimately associated with the image of Lake Garda (northern Italy), in terms of urban forestry as well as urban greening, is the Cupressus sempervirens L. (cypress). This pleasing landscape is threatened by the so-called ‘cypress canker’ (Seiridium cardinale), a pathogen that is destroying cypresses in the north of Italy. In order to combat this disease effectively, the trees need to be monitored, treated and possibly replaced by resistant varieties. Such interventions are quite costly for cash-strapped policymakers and can only be justified economically if the disappearance of the cypress trees would demonstrably reduce the landscape value of the area. In order to evaluate the social benefits promoted by the cypress landscape protection policy, we used the Contingent Valuation Method, interviewing in situ and face-to-face 411 randomly drawn tourists (response rate 75%). For the evaluation scenario, different pictures were used, some representing the landscape with cypress trees and some without. Then we examined willingness to pay (WTP) for research expenditure and treatments to preserve the cypresses. The WTP elicitation format used was a payment card, while the Quantile Regression and Cameron and Huppert models were estimated for parametric analysis of the data. Once we had eliminated the protest bids (15%) and the outliers (10%), we assessed the per person WTP of €1.28 (parametric mean) and 1.11 (non-parametric mean) and reached an annual value of nearly three million Euros. The present value exceeds 100 million Euros and indicates the economic efficiency of public expenditure in caring for the cypress.
 
In urban environments, green spaces have proven to act as ameliorating factors of some climatic features related to heat stress, reducing their effects and providing comfortable outdoor settings for people. In addition, green spaces have demonstrated greater capacity, compared with built-up areas, for promoting human health and well-being. In this paper, we present results of a study conducted in Italy and the UK with the general goal to contribute to the theoretical and empirical rationale for linking green spaces with well-being in urban environments. Specifically, the study focused on the physical and psychological benefits and the general well-being associated with the use of green spaces on people when heat stress episodes are more likely to occur. A questionnaire was set up and administered to users of selected green spaces in Italy and the UK (n=800). Results indicate that longer and frequent visits of green spaces generate significant improvements of the perceived benefits and well-being among users. These results are consistent with the idea that the use of green spaces could alleviate the perception of thermal discomfort during periods of heat stress.
 
This paper presents a comparison of the structure, function, and value of street and park tree populations in two California cities. Trees provided net annual benefits valued at $2.2 million in Modesto and $805,732 in Santa Monica. Benefit-cost ratios were 1.85:1 and 1.52:1 in Modesto and Santa Monica, respectively. Residents received $1.85 and $1.52 in annual benefits for every $1 invested in management. Aesthetic and other benefits accounted for 50% to 80% of total annual benefits, while expenditures for pruning accounted for about 50% of total annual costs. Although these results were similar, benefits and costs were distributed quite differently in each city. Variations in tree sizes and growth rates, foliation characteristics, prices, residential property values, and climate were chiefly responsible for different benefits and costs calculated on a per tree basis.
 
Efforts at mitigating global biodiversity loss have often focused on preserving large, intact natural habitats. However, preserving biodiversity should also be an important goal in the urban environment, especially in highly urbanized areas where little natural habitat remains. Increasingly, research at the city/county scale as well as at the landscape scale reveals that urban areas can contain relatively high levels of biodiversity. Important percentages of species found in the surrounding natural habitat, including endangered species, have been found in the urban forest.This contribution concisely highlights some examples of urban biodiversity research from various areas of the world. Key issues involved in understanding the patterns and processes that affect urban biodiversity, such as the urban–rural gradient and biotic homogenization, are addressed. The potential for urban areas to harbor considerable amounts of biodiversity needs to be recognized by city planners and urban foresters so that management practices that preserve and promote that diversity can be pursued. Management options should focus on increasing biodiversity in all aspects of the urban forest, from street trees to urban parks and woodlots.
 
Urban forests can provide multiple environmental benefits. As urban areas expand, the role of urban vegetation in improving environmental quality will increase in importance. Quantification of these benefits has revealed that urban forests can significantly improve air quality. As a result, national air quality regulations are now willing to potentially credit tree planting as means to improve air quality. Similarly, quantification of other environmental benefits of urban trees (e.g., water quality improvement, carbon sequestration) could provide for urban vegetation to be incorporated in other programs/regulations designed to improve environmental quality.
 
Cultural services provided by green space networks and in particular leisure and recreational opportunities are central to the quality of life of those living in urban areas. However, the literature concerned with green space networks has mainly focused on planning aspects rather than on recreational use. The aim of this study was to evaluate the recreational use of, and concerns about, a naturalistic green space network. The case study location was the naturalistic woodland framework in Birchwood, Warrington, UK, known as Birchwood Forest Park. Non-participant observation and content analysis of local archives were used to collect quantitative and qualitative data. Birchwood Forest Park was used more for leisure activities (52.8%, N=1825; i.e. recreation, sports or play) than for utilitarian purposes (47.2%, N=1825; i.e. as walking or cycling thoroughfare). However, utilitarian walking (30%, N=1825) was the most frequent type of activity observed. The maintenance of the naturalistic woodland framework was the most frequent concern mentioned in the local archives (33.3%, N=234). This case study suggests that the recreational patterns in, as well as peoples' concerns about, naturalistic urban landscapes may be a factor of high-quality maintenance and associated local aesthetic and cultural perceptions. In developing, planning or managing comprehensive urban green space networks it is important to ensure that natural looking scenes are well maintained and that the local community is culturally connected to such scenes.
 
Top-cited authors
David J. Nowak
  • US Forest Service
Cecil Konijnendijk
  • Nature Based Solutions Institute
Daniel E Crane
  • USDA Forest Service
Ulrika K. Stigsdotter
  • University of Copenhagen
Stephan Pauleit
  • Technische Universität München