What do people really think about trees? Insights for planning a climate ready urban forest

Hundreds of unfamiliar tree species are being considered for introduction to urban forests in response to perceived risks from increasing temperatures. This has the potential to change the sense of place created by the urban forest, and the delivery of important ecosystem services such as cooling and habitat provision. At the same time, we are increasingly drawing on public opinions in decision making, and engaging the community to co-design our future urban forests. There is a growing body of research on the way that people think about trees that we can use to support decision making around changes in species composition in the urban forest, and to meaningfully engage with the community. In this paper we review the current state of research on how people think about urban trees, and present the results of new research on community satisfaction with urban trees and urban forest management. We provide some guidance on how the community may respond to changes in species selection in response to risks from increasing temperatures.

Dave Kendal

Dave is a senior lecturer in Environmental Management at the University of Tasmania. He is interested in researching and teaching human-nature relationships in cities and beyond, particularly around management.
He has worked extensively on tree species suitability for future climates in cities across Australia and around the world, and on community engagement on urban forest planning.

He completed his PhD in 2012 at the Burnley campus of the University of Melbourne. Dave then worked at the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology, a division of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.

In 2016 he was appointed as a Research Fellow in Urban Greening at the University of Melbourne, funded through the Clean Air and Urban Landscape hub of the National Environmental Science Program.