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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

The influence of cemetery governance on tree management in urban cemeteries: A case study of Halifax, Canada and Malmo, Sweden

Quinton, Jessica M.; Ostberg, Johan; Duinker, Peter N.


Urban cemeteries represent an unusual type of greenspace that can provide a wide range of ecosystem benefits and services if they have mature tree populations. However, the extent to which tree management is prioritized in cemeteries alongside tasks associated with the burial and commemoration of the deceased is unknown. Given the large differences that exist amongst burial traditions and cemetery management around the world, it seems likely that cemetery tree management will not be uniform across countries. To investigate this, we compared cemetery governance and management in Halifax (Canada) and Malmo (Sweden) to determine which factors influence their cemetery tree populations, with a specific focus on tree planting.An inventory of places in which trees could be planted in cemeteries indicated that a large number of trees could theoretically be planted in both cities' cemeteries. However, manager interviews and a review of cemetery legislation indicated multiple dimensions of governance that result in the very real prospect that precious few of these plantable spots will actually become occupied by a tree. These dimensions differed between the two cities, with financial constraints and limited knowledge about trees playing a large role in Halifax, while in Malmo, legislation and public opinion influence the extent to which tree planting occurs. As such, the cities require different solutions to promote tree planting in their cemeteries to avoid future canopy loss and ensure the long-term continued provision of current ecosystem benefits and services.

Published in

Landscape and Urban Planning
2020, Volume: 194, article number: 103699
Publisher: ELSEVIER

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Landscape Architecture

    Publication Identifiers


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