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Sustainability 2015, 7(4), 4600-4624;

Delivering a Multi-Functional and Resilient Urban Forest

School of Geography Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
Birmingham Institute of Forest Research, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston B15 2TT, UK
Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research/Atmospheric Environmental Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
ImaginationLancaster, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW, UK
Faculty of the Creative Industries, Southampton Solent University, East Park Terrace, Southampton SO14 0YN, UK
Department of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Building, Coventry University, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK
Faculty of the Arts, Design and Media, Birmingham City University, Birmingham B4 7BD, UK
College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4QF, UK
London School of Commerce, London SE1 1NX, UK
Institute of Chartered Foresters, Brunswick Court, Brunswick Square, Bristol BS2 8PE, UK
School of Civil Engineering, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 9 March 2015 / Revised: 4 April 2015 / Accepted: 8 April 2015 / Published: 17 April 2015
Full-Text   |   PDF [1955 KB, uploaded 17 April 2015]   |  


Tree planting is widely advocated and applied in urban areas, with large-scale projects underway in cities globally. Numerous potential benefits are used to justify these planting campaigns. However, reports of poor tree survival raise questions about the ability of such projects to deliver on their promises over the long-term. Each potential benefit requires different supporting conditions—relating not only to the type and placement of the tree, but also to the broader urban system within which it is embedded. This set of supporting conditions may not always be mutually compatible and may not persist for the lifetime of the tree. Here, we demonstrate a systems-based approach that makes these dependencies, synergies, and tensions more explicit, allowing them to be used to test the decadal-scale resilience of urban street trees. Our analysis highlights social, environmental, and economic assumptions that are implicit within planting projects; notably that high levels of maintenance and public support for urban street trees will persist throughout their natural lifespan, and that the surrounding built form will remain largely unchanged. Whilst the vulnerability of each benefit may be highly context specific, we identify approaches that address some typical weaknesses, making a functional, resilient, urban forest more attainable. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban; forest; tree; resilient; resilience; ecosystem services; scenarios; systems; futures urban; forest; tree; resilient; resilience; ecosystem services; scenarios; systems; futures

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Hale, J.D.; Pugh, T.A.M.; Sadler, J.P.; Boyko, C.T.; Brown, J.; Caputo, S.; Caserio, M.; Coles, R.; Farmani, R.; Hales, C.; Horsey, R.; Hunt, D.V.L.; Leach, J.M.; Rogers, C.D.F.; MacKenzie, A.R. Delivering a Multi-Functional and Resilient Urban Forest. Sustainability 2015, 7, 4600-4624.

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