Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Massachusetts
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Massachusetts Project

Natural-Ecological and Socio-Political Factors Influencing Urban Forest Management in Massachusetts

September 2015 - December 2019


Participating Agencies

  • Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

From wildlife habitat, to carbon sequestration, urban forests supply an array of ecosystem benefits to over 90% of Massachusetts’ residents, who live and work in an urban setting. Urban trees, however, face a multitude of challenges from limited growing space, to invasive pests. To gain further understanding into emergent urban forest management issues, we conducted 50 qualitative research interviews with municipal tree wardens, from 2014-2016. Forest health emerged as an important theme, as interviewees (n=49) indicated that they routinely monitor for pests of urban trees. A significant number of interviewees (n=13) also indicated that they interact with urban tree committees. We will explore the potential for planting low-maintenance conifers, like Chinese hemlock, as part of an overarching urban forest health management and diversification strategy that incorporates host plant resistant species. We will also explore the characteristics and needs of urban tree committee volunteers.