Identifying Key Challenges and Opportunities in Urban and Community Forestry in California: Insights from California Practitioners

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This study builds upon previous studies on the state of urban and community forestry in California and expands on a recent nationwide survey effort to assess the economic impacts of urban and community forestry on a regional basis, across multiple, interacting sectors. By conducting a similar assessment of issues, challenges, and opportunities, this study adds to a growing body of knowledge about urban and community forestry. Using a mixed methods sampling approach, we recruited a total of 189 survey participants from the following sectors: nonprofit organizations (n=37), private green businesses (n=106), and public municipal governments (n=46). Challenges related to management operations, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, workforce diversity, and equitable access to urban forests were compared among sectors to find statistically significant differences in perceptions of challenges and to provide insights into the challenges needing the greatest focus and the opportunities for collaboration among the sectors. The greatest operational challenges across all sectors are the lack of monetary resources to conduct urban forestry activities and the lack of public awareness or cooperation. The nonprofit sector revealed heightened awareness of climate change impacts and a greater focus on improving workforce diversity and equitable access to urban forests for underserved communities.

Arboriculture, Urban Forest, Tree Care Industry, Nonprofit, Government