Pragmatic factors outweigh ecosystem service goals in street tree selection and planting in South-East Queensland cities
Roy, S and Davison, A and Ostberg, J, Pragmatic factors outweigh ecosystem service goals in street tree selection and planting in South-East Queensland cities, Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 21 pp. 166-174. ISSN 1618-8667 (2017) [Refereed Article]
Competing demands between diverse considerations and the benefits sought make urban street tree species selection an extremely complex and challenging process for municipal land and tree managers, influencing urban greening initiatives across the world as well as in Australia. This paper presents findings from a qualitative study with tree managers and other relevant officers from local municipal authorities in South-East Queensland, Australia that examined factors influencing street tree selection and planting. Participants outlined three predominant motives for planting street trees: environmental (100%), visual and aesthetic (92%), and statutory (92%). In contrast, participants identified species characteristics (100%), site factors (100%), costs (92%), and management and maintenance issues (83%) as the most important governing factors for street tree species selection. Only half of the officers noted ecosystem services (50%), along with visual and aesthetic benefits (50%) as species selection factors. Economic, health, socio-cultural and community benefits were not mentioned among the species-selection criteria. The interviews with municipal officers revealed that the parameters governing street tree species selection in South-East Queensland do not conform to the environmental and aesthetic reasons that were cited as the primary motivations for planting street trees. Local research focused on the benefits and problems of Australian street tree species may empower councils to revise their street tree policies and integrate ecosystem services and disservices as part of the process of selecting appropriate species.
Australia, decision, diversity, environmental benefits, species characteristics, urban forest, street trees, urban sustainability