Public Values associated with urban forests: The psycho-social effects of tree-removal from urban parks

While many Australian cities have ambitious targets to increase tree-canopy cover, many municipal governments also spend millions of dollars removing urban trees every year. While large, old trees can be hazardous and, hence, are often removed, these are precisely the type of trees that provide the most significant services, including shade and wildlife habitat.  This means that urban places where trees are removed can experience rapid loss, absence, and slow recovery in tree-related services.  While the negative effects of this on, for example, shade, are straight forward, today there is no clear understanding of the psychological and social effects of tree removal.  This is because few studies, if any, focus on a before-after-control-impact experimental investigation of the impact of tree loss on psycho-social parameters.
I present preliminary results from a study carried out at selected treescapes in the City of Melbourne, and how psycho-social processes (i.e., attitudes, perceived benefits, well-being, nature connectedness, and walking activity) can change after trees are removed from these sites.

Dr Camilo Ordonez

Camilo’s innovative research strives to understand the social and ecological dynamics of urban natural resources to create resilient cities. His research focuses on how people relate to urban nature, understanding the role that urban nature plays in climate change adaptation, improving management and planning processes of urban nature, advancing green infrastructure technology (e.g. structural soil cells), and modelling socio-ecological systems in cities, with a focus on urban forests and trees.
He has led applied industry grants and engaged in a variety of community research partnerships in Canadian and Australia cities. Camilo has previously held positions as Research Fellow at Valle University (Colombia), consultant for IPCC through IDEAM (Colombia), Lecturer at Dalhousie University, consultant for ESSA Technologies (Canada), Associate Professor in sustainability science at Brock University (Canada), and Postdoctoral Fellow at Ryerson University (Canada).
He is currently a Research Fellow at the School of Ecosystem and Forest Science (SEFS) at The University of Melbourne working on a research project on Urban Trees, People & Wildlife.
Originally from Cali, Colombia, he has lived in eight different countries and undertaken research in Europe, North America, Latin America, and Australia.