WHAT DO YOU WANT?
Step C. Identify needs.
With information on the status of their tree resources and tree management
in hand, a community is in a good position to assess its urban forestry
needs. Urban forestry needs can be grouped into three broad categories,
although many needs may actually fall into more than one category. Biological
are those that are related to the tree resource itself. Typical
needs in this category include the need to:
increase species and age diversity to provide long-term forest stability;
provide sufficient tree planting to keep pace with urban growth and offset
increase the proportion of large-statured trees in the forest for greater
- ensure proper compatibility between trees and planting sites to reduce sidewalk
damage and conflicts with overhead utilities that lead to premature tree removal.
refer to the needs of those involved with the short-
and long-term care and maintenance of the urban forest. Some common management
develop adequate long-term planning to ensure the sustainability of the
optimize the use of limited financial and personnel resources;
increase training and education for tree program employees to ensure high
quality tree care;
coordinate tree-related activities of municipal departments.
are those that relate to how the public perceives
and interacts with the urban forest and the local urban forest management
program. Examples of community needs include:
increase public awareness of the values and benefits associated with trees;
promote better private tree care through better public understanding of
the biological needs of trees;
foster community support for the urban forest management program;
promote conservation of the urban forest by focusing public attention on
all tree age classes, not just large heritage trees.
The needs listed above are common to many communities. However, the specific
needs of each community will vary, and may include others not noted here.
Step D. Establish goals.
Now that we know what we have and what we need, we are ready to set goals to
address local urban forestry needs and to guide the formation of the management
strategy. To establish realistic goals, it's important to consider limitations
posed by the level of community support, economic realities, and environmental
constraints. Because of limited resources, communities may be unable to immediately
address all of the needs identified. If this is the case, it will be necessary
to prioritize goals. In setting priorities, it is important not to neglect goals
that require a long-term approach in favor of those that can be achieved quickly.
At this point in the process, it is absolutely critical to get community
involvement and support. Most tree ordinances rely heavily on voluntary
compliance by the public. Such compliance is only likely to be achieved
if members of the community support the goals which have been set. Management
goals reached through public involvement are likely to reflect community
values and therefore enjoy public support. Public participation in the
goal-setting process also serves an educational function, providing an
opportunity for citizens to see how urban forest management affects their
Goals are the tangible ends that the management strategy seeks to achieve.
It is therefore important to set goals which are quantifiable in some way, so
that progress toward the goals can be monitored. For example, while it is admirable
to seek to "improve the quality of life" or "protect the health and welfare
of the community", such goals are generally too diffuse to be measured in any
meaningful way. However a goal such as "establish maximum tree cover" can be
made quantifiable by setting canopy cover or tree density standards. Typical
tree program goals which are consistent with good urban forest management are
discussed in more detail on the Ordinance Goals page.