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Designing a long-term urban tree monitoring network: an Introductory article

Jansson, Märit; Östberg, Johan; Randrup, Thomas; Klobucar, Blaz


Tree inventories are recognized as an important tool for urban foresters and green space managers to perform sustainable management of urban trees. Urban trees are providers of several important ecosystem services, across ownerships and governance structures. There is a need to better understand how urban tree inventories tackle the need for holistic, complete and long term overviews, across administrative borders.

Therefore, this study examined literature on urban tree inventories with a primary focus on sampling design, identifying 62 relevant articles. First, we applied a governance arrangement approach to interpret which actors and aspects were involved, who took the initiatives to the inventories, and at which scale the inventories were carried out. Secondly, we studied the inventories themselves. The main results are that use of stratification in the sampling design was common, despite being problematic regarding its long-term usefulness. Only 7 % of the stratification sampling designs were regarded as having long-term stability. Studies frequently relied on new sampling designs, aimed at a particular issue as opposed to using an existing, longitudinal sampling network. Even though private trees can constitute over 50 % of the urban tree population, only 30 % of the studies included private trees.

The urban tree inventories mentioned in the academic literature are based on academic (scientific) initiatives and approaches, even if they primarily focus on tree data in local environmental perspectives. It is uncommon for these studies to include users or private tree owners, and very limited focus is on economic, cultural or social factors. This article stresses the need for long-term validation of sampling methods in urban areas and multi-lateral approach considerations.


urban forestry; urban trees; inventories; spatial sampling; governance

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Utgivare: Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences