Magazine article American Forests

Changing the Perception of Urban Forestry

Magazine article American Forests

Changing the Perception of Urban Forestry

Article excerpt

The urban environment and community forestry need to become a priority in people's lives. Individuals in urban areas who are trying to feed a family of four with an average income of $25,0000 have to worry about the urban ecosystem, just as wealthier Americans do. However, life's circumstances impact where protection of urban ecosystems falls in peoples' priorities.

Therefore, we need to start reaching people in nontraditional ways. Urban foresters have to enter the debate over such issues as jobs, public education initiatives, and public assistance programs. As urban forestry professionals we need to start confronting those issues and explaining how they relate to urban forestry. We can no longer wait in the wings while issues affecting cities are being debated at the highest levels. Urban forestry is very much apart of urban America.

In talking with citizen groups we must ask, "As a professional, how can I help you best meet the needs of your community? We have the expertise and the organizational skills and know where to get information to help you meet your needs." As you do that, you're going to create a relationship that opens doors for urban forestry initiatives, such as planting trees on private property and beautification of neighborhoods. Such programs raise homes' value as well as peoples' awareness.

It's a different approach to citizen forestry: citizen foresters helping neighborhoods and community-based organization developing strategies to solve social and environmental issues. …

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