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    Climbers' CornerTree Academy

    Can Tree Planting Contribute to Environmental Injustice?


    In 2010 and 2011, the City of Portland canvassed residents about their willingness to participate in a tree-planting program.  This program is part of Portland’s effort to expand the tree-canopy cover in the city from 28- to 33-percent. For this policy to be effective, it is important to understand what motivates a homeowners’ tree-planting decision. We addressed this question by combining survey responses with site and demographic variables that potentially influence participation in a tree-planting program. We found that homeowners with street trees, and those living in older homes, are more likely to participate in the program. Homeowners who have owned their homes for longer, and those who live in census-block groups with lower high-school graduation rates, were less likely to participate in the program. As Census B lock-Groups with lower high school graduation rates also have lower canopy cover the program may inadvertently exacerbate environmental inequality.  To avoid these issues, future programs may wish to engage in more intensive outreach in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

    Keywords: urban forestry, demographics, Portland, census, income, education, race


    Geoffrey Donovan

    Dr. Donovan has a bachelor’s degree from Sheffield University in biochemistry and a doctorate in forest economics from Colorado State University. He works as a research forester for the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station (since 2001). His two main research areas are the economics of wildfire and quantifying the benefits of urban trees. He has conducted numerous quantitative studies that have provided new knowledge regarding the multiple values trees provide to urban inhabitants.       


    John Mills

    John is a Research Forester in the Resource Monitoring and Assessment Program of the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station in Portland, OR.  He recently led his program’s effort to install roughly 1,000 urban inventory ground plots in 5 Pacific States.  Data collected from the plots has been compiled, made available to the public, and archived for monitoring purposes.  His background is modeling the growth and yield of trees at large scales as part of national assessments of U.S. forest resources. He holds B.S and M.S degrees in forestry and resource economics from Oregon State University. 

    Climbers' CornerTree Academy

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