Attitudes of municipal officials toward street tree programs in Pennsylvania, U.S

Tyler R. Stevenson, Henry D. Gerhold, William F. Elmendorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Survey responses from 528 officials in 356 municipalities defined the developmental status of municipal street tree programs and the attitudes of three types of officials: elected chief officials, public works administrators, and municipal solicitors. In sustained programs, which had an ordinance, tree commission, inventory, and management plan, officials had more positive attitudes about trees than in developing programs, which had at least one of these elements, or in communities without a tree program. However, even in the latter, approximately half of the officials believed that benefits of street trees outweigh costs and any disadvantages, and 62% favored starting a tree program. No tree programs exist in 46% of the cities, 82% of the boroughs, and 97% of the townships, so there are many opportunities and also important barriers. Incomplete understanding of the benefits of trees and tree care practices leads to low public support, insufficient funding, and inadequate personnel and equipment. Most officials favor spending some money on trees but regard tree programs as less important than other civic responsibilities. Officials may be persuaded to start or improve tree programs by explaining benefits more fully and how public safety can be improved by proper pruning, inventories that locate dangerous trees, and management plans that arrange to remove them. Furthermore, funding may be alleviated by using volunteers, grants, and available technical advice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-151
Number of pages8
JournalArboriculture and Urban Forestry
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Ecology


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