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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

Grading of Parameters for Urban Tree Inventories by City Officials, Arborists, and Academics Using the Delphi Method

Östberg, Johan; Delshammar, Tim; Wiström, Björn; Busse Nielsen, Anders


Tree inventories are expensive to conduct and update, so every inventory carried out must be maximized. However, increasing the number of constituent parameters increases the cost of performing and updating the inventory, illustrating the need for careful parameter selection. This article reports the results of a systematic expert rating of tree inventories aiming to quantify the relative importance of each parameter. Using the Delphi method, panels comprising city officials, arborists, and academics rated a total of 148 parameters. The total mean score, the top ranking parameters, which can serve as a guide for decision-making at practical level and for standardization of tree inventories, were: Scientific name of the tree species and genera, Vitality, Coordinates, Hazard class, and Identification number. The study also examined whether the different responsibilities and usage of urban tree databases among organizations and people engaged in urban tree inventories affected their prioritization. The results revealed noticeable dissimilarities in the ranking of parameters between the panels, underlining the need for collaboration between the research community and those commissioning, administrating, and conducting inventories. Only by applying such a transdisciplinary approach to parameter selection can urban tree inventories be strengthened and made more relevant.


Street trees; Urban tree database; Sweden; Urban forest; Urban greening

Published in

Environmental Management
2013, Volume: 51, number: 3, pages: 694-708
Publisher: SPRINGER