Urban Forestry And Public Policy


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Urban Forestry and Public Policy

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URBAN FORESTRY
A Manual for the State Forestry Agencies in the Southern Region
Unit: Urban Forestry and Public Policy
The Urban Forestry Manual is being developed by the USDA Forest Service, Southern Region and Southern Research Station, and the Southern Group of State Foresters as an educational tool for State forestry agency employees and others who work with communities on urban forestry. It can be used for self-guided learning, finding specific information on a topic and developing workshops and presentations. There are 16 units (chapters) in the Manual - at this time 9 units are on the web site (www.urbanforestrysouth.usda.gov). The other units will be added as they become available.
Table of Contents
Using this Manual Using each Unit
Benefits and Costs Role of the State Forestry Agency Tree Biology Dendrology Urban Soils Site and Tree Selection Tree Planting Tree Maintenance Tree Diagnosis and Treatment Trees and Construction Hazard Trees Urban Wildlife Urban Ecosystems Planning and Management Urban Forestry and Public Policy Working with the Public

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Using this Manual
The Urban Forestry Manual provides the scientific, technical, and practical information needed to work with communities on urban forestry. There are 16 units (listed below) that address specific topics in the practice of urban forestry. These units have been developed as a series, each building upon the information in previous ones. The units may also be used individually to gain information about a specific topic.
Benefits and Costs of the Urban Forest is the first unit in the Urban Forestry Manual. This is an introduction to urban forestry and it explains why your work with communities and individuals in urban forestry is important. This unit also includes information about how to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs related to the urban forest.
The Role of the State Forestry Agency in Urban Forestry is an introduction to State forestry agencies' responsibilities and activities in urban forestry. It explains why partnerships are important to State forestry agencies activities in urban forestry. This unit also discusses the importance of working with communities and individuals.
Tree Biology is an introduction to how trees grow and live. It describes how trees are structured, how they function, and how they grow and develop. It also explains how the urban environment influences tree growth and development.
Dendrology is an introduction to identifying and understanding trees in the urban environment. It explains the classification of trees, naming trees and tree identification. This unit also includes information on how characteristics of the urban environment influence tree identification.
Urban Soils is an introduction to the role that soils play in the health of the urban forest. It explains what soil characteristics are important for healthy tree growth. This unit also includes information about common soil problems in urban areas.
Site and Tree Selection provides information on how to select a site and species to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs related to urban forestry. It explains what factors you need to consider when selecting a planting site, tree species, and tree stock. This unit also discusses how to match these factors to ensure healthy tree growth and development.
Tree Planting is a unit that will introduces factors to consider and techniques to implement when planting trees. It includes recommended guidelines for planting and post-planting. It also explains how to work with communities and individuals to successfully plant trees.
Tree Maintenance is an introduction to the importance of providing regular maintenance to the urban forest. The basic steps to preventative maintenance are discussed, such as fertilization, mulching, pruning and tree protection.

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Tree Diagnosis and Treatment provides an introduction on how to diagnosis and treat tree health problems. This unit explains how your knowledge and application of diagnosis and treatment can improve the health of the urban forest. It also includes information on why it is important to prevent tree health problems.
Trees and Construction is an introduction to the relationship between construction activities and trees. It explains the importance of communication during the construction process. The focus is on the impact of construction activities on trees, the protection of trees during construction, and care for the tree before and after construction.
Hazard Trees is an introduction to the importance of recognizing a hazard tree. It gives a general overview on evaluating a target, site conditions and the tree. This unit also includes information on how to prevent and manage hazard trees.
Urban Wildlife is an introduction to the relationship between wildlife and the urban environment. It first defines urban wildlife and describes the needs of wildlife, such as food, water, cover and living space. Then it discusses wildlife habitat in urban areas and how wildlife adapts to urban habitat. It also includes information on how to encourage and discourage wildlife.
Urban Ecosystems is an introduction to the role that trees play within an urban ecosystem. It first defines an ecosystem and why it is important to understand ecosystems. Then is discusses ecological concepts, such as structure and function, that are important to understanding ecosystems. This unit also includes information on understanding challenges in the urban forest ecosystem.
Urban Forestry Planning and Management is an introduction to the importance of planning and managing the urban forest. It starts with a definition of an urban forest management plan and why they are important. Then it discusses the steps involved in developing a management plan. It also includes information on the different components in a management plan.
Urban Forestry and Public Policy is an introduction to understanding public policy and how it relates to urban forestry. It first describes the role that each level of government has in setting public policy related to urban forestry. Next it provides information on local government in more detail because this is where most urban forestry policy is created and implemented. The role that Tree Boards have with local government is also discussed. The final section reviews public policy tools that can be used to address urban forestry issues in a community.
Working with the Public is an introduction on how to effectively work with the public. It starts with tips on how to work together as a team and how to work with volunteers. Then it discusses the role of communication and education in working with the public. The unit also includes information on the importance of leadership in urban forestry.

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Using Each Unit
Each unit in the Urban Forestry Manual is organized as follows:
Table of Contents Lists major topics that are included in the unit.
Unit Overview Presents goals and objectives for the unit.
Before You Begin Consider how your current activities and experiences relate to this topic.
Content Presents specific material about this subject under several headings.
Next? Think about how you can use the information in your daily responsibilities and in developing your career in forestry.
For More Information Lists other sources of information about this subject, as well as the literature cited in the unit.
Appendix Some units have an appendix that may include checklists or other information.
In addition, each unit has two sections that will help you assess your learning of the information.
Checking Your Understanding At the end of major sections in the unit, there are short-answer questions about the information you have read. After you have written the answers, you may compare your responses to the answers provided at the end of each unit.
Case Study These are stories based on the real experiences. The questions at the end of the case study challenge you to use the information you learned to solve a problem similar to what you will be facing when working. You will be asked to analyze an actual urban forestry problem and prepare your solutions. There are no right or wrong answers -- only what you decide is the best course of action after considering all of the information.

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URBAN FORESTRY AND PUBLIC POLICY
Table of Contents
Overview Before You Begin Why is Public Policy Important? How Local Government Works Tree Boards Local Public Policy Tools Tree Ordinances Trees in Civil Matters Case Study Next? For More Information Checking Your Answers

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Overview
This unit is an introduction to understanding public policy and how it relates to urban forestry. First, it describes why public policy is important and the role each level of government has in setting public policy that affects urban forestry. The second section focuses on local government and the role of Tree Boards because here is where most urban forestry policy is created and implemented. The next section reviews public policy tools with an emphasis on tree ordinances, which can used to address urban forestry issues in a community. Finally, trees in civil matters are briefly discussed.
The Ordinance Vacuum
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Back in 1990, a group of citizens in a university town decided it was time to have a tree ordinance. The group was comprised mainly of university faculty and staff. They worked hard to develop an ordinance that addressed tree protection on public property. They debated whether they should include private property and decided to go for the whole thing. When they presented the ordinance to the city commission, the homebuilders and business council came out in force to oppose it. The homebuilders were furious – they had just found out about the ordinance and they had had no input into its development. Tempers were hot and it was not a good night for the citizens group or the ordinance. The city commission forwarded the ordinance to the natural resource committee for further study, where the ordinance died. Even though the citizen group meant well, creating the ordinance in a vacuum created so much ill will that it was 8 years before the community could even talk about drafting another ordinance.
Law is merely the expression of the will of the strongest for the time being, and therefore laws have no fixity, but shift from generation to generation. Henry Brooks Adams, 1838-1918, American Historian

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Before You Begin
Many activities related to urban forestry are influenced by public policies that have been decided at some level of government. Take a few minutes to consider how policies may affect the urban forest. Think about a recent rezoning request for an apartment complex, planned development, or shopping center that may have required clearing a large area of land.
• What effects do such policy decisions have on the urban forest?

• What groups and organizations are involved with local government issues related to urban forestry?

• What governmental policies impact efforts to maintain trees and the urban forest?

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Why is Public Policy Important?
The urban forest is influenced and managed by public policies set at many levels of government. Public policy is a broad term and difficult to define. However, it can generally be defined as some action taken by government to resolve issues of public concern. Many of these policies may not mention urban forestry specifically but they can still affect trees in a community. Managing the urban forest involves knowing about these public policies and how they work. It also requires working with groups and making decisions about issues that cross-governmental, community, and ownership boundaries. There is public policy at all levels of government (Federal, State and local) in the United States that can impact the urban forest. Examples of different forms of public policy include legislation, regulations, resolutions, programs, appropriations, administrative practices and court decisions.
Public policies are solutions to public issues and they are often controversial.

Federal Government
The Federal government can directly influence urban forestry by means of financial support and technical assistance, such as the 1990 Farm Bill that authorized funding for the Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program. The Federal government indirectly impacts State and local government through decisions made by Federal courts and by Federal regulations. For example, local governments must follow safe drinking water and air quality standards established by the Federal government. The Federal government becomes directly involved with local governments when they are out of compliance with a Federal mandate, accept Federal funding, or when assistance is requested.
State Government
State government also influences urban forestry by means of financial support, technical assistance, and legislation. Examples of financial support include allocated funds for urban forestry staff or projects within a specific State agency. Technical assistance refers to a State agency’s ability to help local governments, communities, organizations, or citizens in their efforts to improve and maintain the urban forest. A legislative example is enabling legislation that gives local governments the authority to pass local laws and ordinances. Within the State government there are departments, agencies, divisions, or commissions that may have policies related to urban forestry.
Environmental protection The environmental protection or related department has regulatory authority to protect water and air quality. This may include policies that address erosion control, non-pointsource pollution, buffers, rivers, and tree protection. Sometimes the environmental protection responsibilities will be under a natural resources department.

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Natural resources This department usually oversees issues related to natural resources in the State. It may also deal with natural resource planning on regional scales and oversee public open space. In some States, environmental protection, State forestry agencies, and mining and reclamation are within the natural resources department.
Fish and wildlife Fish and wildlife departments typically are responsible for managing, protecting, and improving habitat for fish and wildlife in the State. They may also be involved in managing urban wildlife.
Forestry State forestry agencies protect and manage the State’s forest resources and provide assistance related to forestry, forest health, fire protection, urban forestry, and conservation education; they also may encourage voluntary implementation of forestry “best management” practices. They often formulate policy on forest-related issues.
Transportation Transportation departments plan and oversee road building and maintenance. They may also establish regulations related to tree plantings and maintenance along highways and near billboards on State and Federal roads.
The State transportation department may have policy that impacts trees in a community.

Community development The community development departments oversee a variety of issues that may include community planning and development, tourism, emergency management and historical sites. Urban forestry is often involved in many activities related to community development.
Licensing The State may require foresters, urban foresters, or arborists to be licensed to legally practice. Licensing may be the responsibility of the Secretary of State’s office or a licensing department.

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Find out what state agencies or departments oversee activities that may impact urban forestry issues.
Local Government
Local government generally refers to cities, towns, counties, or parishes. Local governments enact laws to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the community. While the local government may not have the broad influence that the Federal and State governments have, it does significantly affect policy related to urban forestry. Local governments traditionally have principal responsibility for managing and conserving urban forests and public open spaces. This responsibility may include planning, generation of revenue, staffing, implementation and enforcement of ordinances, and responding to the needs of the public.
Sometimes local units of government, such as city and county, are combined or consolidated.
Special districts Special districts are another unit of local government that may influence the urban forest. While most special district governments are created as school districts, some are established for other purposes, such as soil and water conservation, fire protection, parks and recreation, sports, tourism, downtown revitalization, health, historic preservation, and transportation. Managing the urban forest will usually involve working with special districts.
Quasi-governmental agencies Sometimes an urban forestry issue may involve not just one but several communities in a region. There may be region-wide commissions or authorities, such as regional planning commissions or councils of governments, that serve as quasi-governmental agencies to address issues that cross local government boundaries. These quasi-governmental agencies facilitate coordination among local governments on issues that affect all the communities in the area, such as land use, transportation, utilities, and the environment.
Find out it there are any region-wide commissions or authorities that address natural resource issues.

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Urban Forestry And Public Policy