Urban Tree Management
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Urban Tree Management

For the Sustainable Development of Green Cities

Andreas Roloff, Andreas Roloff

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eBook - ePub

Urban Tree Management

For the Sustainable Development of Green Cities

Andreas Roloff, Andreas Roloff

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Urban tree management is the key basis for greener cities of the future. It is a practical discipline which includes tree selection, planting, care and protection and the overall management of trees as a collective resource.

Urban Tree Management aims to raise awareness for the positive impacts and benefits of city trees and for their importance to city dwellers. It describes their advantages and details their effects on quality of urban life and well-being – aspects that are increasingly important in these times of progressing urbanisation.

With this book you will learn:

  • fundamentals, methods and tools of urban tree management
  • state of the art in the fields of urban forestry and tree biology
  • positive effects and uses of urban trees
  • features, requirements and selection criteria for urban trees
  • conditions and problems of urban trees
  • governance and management aspects
  • environmental education programs.

Edited by the leading expert Dr Andreas Roloff, Urban Tree Management is an excellent resource for plant scientists, horticulturists, dendrologists, arborists and arboriculturists, forestry scientists, city planners, parks department specialists and landscape architects. It will be an essential addition to all students and libraries where such subjects are taught.

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Intro: Urban trees – Importance, benefits, problems

Andreas Roloff
Technische Universität Dresden, Tharandt, Germany

1.1 Introduction

Trees often and quickly gain a bad reputation, caused by falling branches or entire trees, roots in sewage drains, neighbors fighting over fruit and leaves littering their gardens, health issues from pollen allergies, etc. The problems caused by city trees are usually more conspicuous and have greater ramifications. Their advantages can often be difficult to record and to assess. As a result, the negative impacts are much more widely discussed, whereas extensive papers about their positive aspects are rare.
This chapter, therefore, aims to raise awareness of the positive impacts and benefits of urban trees and their importance to city dwellers (Figures 1.1 and 1.2). It describes their advantages (with no claim to completeness) and details their effects on our quality of life and well-being – aspects that are increasingly important in these times of progressing urbanization.
If I knew the world would end tomorrow, I would still plant another tree today.
Martin Luther
Photo displaying an urban square without trees.
Figure 1.1 Treeless square – cold, hard, unwelcoming, and easily overheated in summer.
Photo displaying an urban square with trees (Fraxinus angustifolia).
Figure 1.2 Square with trees (Fraxinus angustifolia) – segmented, warm, inviting and shady.

1.2 Aesthetics, sensory impressions

To many people, the beauty of nature is manifest in trees (Tyrväinen et al., 2005). This is especially true for ancient, free-standing trees. Their variation in phenology (change of appearance across the seasons), including shooting, blooming, fruit, leaf coloring and falling leaves, is an important factor in how we experience the seasons, especially in cities. Many trees even change their smell over the course of the year. Areas without trees can be areas without seasons, especially in temperate climates.
Visual impressions such as coloring (e.g., of the leaves in spring and autumn), different structures (e.g., the shape of the leaves and the architecture of the treetops), design (e.g., Lombardy poplars, ancient oaks) and aesthetics (how a tree affects us) cause positive emotions and experiences (Bahamón, 2008; Miller, 2007; Trowbridge and Bassuk, 2004; Smardon, 1988; Velarde et al., 2007). As an example of the aesthetic impact of different tree species, just think of a light, young grove of birches, as opposed to a dark, dense forest of conifers in spring. An assessment based on aesthetics is, of course, subjective, but it may still be used, for example, to rank city trees by popularity.
Aside from visual impressions, the senses of smell (blossoms, autumn leaves), hearing (rustling of the treetops, rustling of the fallen leaves), taste (fruit, young leaves) and touch (fruit, young leaves) also play important roles.

1.3 Psychology, well-being, health

Trees accompany us through life. Relationships between trees and people are complex and have been poorly investigated. The potential of such relationships becomes clear if you consider the “house tree”. Even today, it is not uncommon for families to plant a tree next to their home – for example, to serve as a “patron”, in order to have shade in summer and shelter from wind, or in order to grow fruit, honey, and so on (Figure 1.3). Some house trees are even considered a member of the family, and the bond is particularly strong if the tree was planted by the owner of the home to mark a special occasion. Positive feelings towards house trees are usually associated with aesthetics: “looks nice”; “the blossoms”; “the color of the leaves”. Gardens often contain many of the “public” trees along the streets and in the parks of a city. In Dresden, for example, there are 600,000 private garden trees, but only 60,000 public street trees (Roloff, 2013).
Photo displaying a tree (Acer pseudoplatanus) in front of a house.
Figure 1.3 House tree (Acer pseudoplatanus) – often a member of the family.
Trees are also increasingly important for our health – for instance, visits to parks (municipal, spas and civic parks) and gardens, walks and hikes, resting on a bench under a tree, picnics in the shade of trees (a popular custom in many cultures). Parks may therefore also be called “therapeutic landscapes”, and a movement called “garden therapy” is currently on the rise. Gardens (including allotments) are increasingly seen as personal spas, as a place where people can feel comfortable and relax – gardening as private health care.
In addition, city trees also protect us from emissions, especially by reducing the levels of ozone, nitrogen oxides, sulfur and carbon dioxide (Harris et al., 2004; Konijnendijk et al., 2005; Tyrväinen et al., 2005; Yang et al., 2005; Donovan et al., 2011). Parks act as a city’s “green lungs”. In recent years there have been many discussions about particulate matter and how it can be reduced to protect our health, with a focus on the ability of trees to bind microparticles in their leaves. Benefits from this depend on factors such as the placement of the trees along the streets, and the width of the streets (see Chapter 13...