The urban forest holds several important positions within the built and unbuilt environments. Those positions include economic, health, sustainability, quality of life measures, and overall protection of the environment, including air, water, and soil. The points are highlighted by Wolf (2005;2007); McPherson (2005) and Rowntree and Nowak (1991). This research references the four socio-economic sectors; the public or government sector, for profit or market sector, philanthropic or nonprofit sector, and the household or private sector (Biggs and Helms, 2007). The common purposes and role of each sector with respect to the urban tree cover takes on importance as they interrelate with concerns for public health, economic viability, tree coverage, tree placement, ecological relationships, and public policy. Harris County and its 52 heterogeneous sub-governmental units serve as the study area and the base for the administration of a random internet-based survey. Additionally, the research used urban tree canopy data to relate socio-economics, household preferences, sustainability measures, and overall environmental consciousness to gauge the sectors’ connection to the urban forest. The research used multiple correlation analysis and regression modeling with secondary data. The research incorporated the results of the primary data collected, employed hierarchal linear modeling to address the perceived problem of a lack of concern for the urban forest and sustainability in respect to sectoral frame of reference in answering the survey questions. The element of willingness and receptivity serves as independent variables and overall environmental sustainability. The results can help policy makers promote sustainable initiatives that enhance the urban forest and protect the overall natural environment for the benefit of all, now and in the future.
This study is one of very few studies that examined the urban forest resource as a critical element of our overall ecosystem with values and benefits that far outweigh the cost of maintainance and or expansion. The study also demonstrated that awareness and knowledge precipitates action. How we act though, may require clarity of understanding of the various roles of all the sectors and how each sector, may or may not, take, or be willing to take responsibility for our urban tree canopy’s future. There is a need for a balance within the ecosystem in order to enhance as well as retain our natural heritage of our homes, communities, and regions, by protection of the urban forest, both its resources and benefits. The public in general may not perceive the urban forest as an economic good, but often as an abstraction and not accounted as real property.
Economics » International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Policy » Month: 03-2017 Issue: 1