Community Forestry Officials: Results from a MDC Survey

Date Published: 

Friday, June 1, 2012


  • Thomas Treiman
  • Martha McCrary
  • Nick Kuhn

Paper Summary/Abstract: 

Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Community Forestry Program advises, coordinates and facilitates the efforts that affect Missouri’s community-owned trees. Assistance provided by MDC is targeted at local governments, arborists, non-profit organizations and planning councils. To better understand the knowledge, motivation and behavior of community forestry officials, a survey was mailed to employees in 612 Missouri communities. Our goal was to characterize the local agencies charged with managing urban trees, their budgets and personnel levels, and to determine which urban forestry issues local officials found to be most pressing.

In 2011 MDC conducted surveys of three groups involved in community forestry: local elected officials (broken down into mayors, council members, etc.), local heads of city departments and urban foresters. The questions in these three surveys were similar to a 2003 MDC survey. All surveys included questions such as which community department was responsible for street tree management, size of budget, and what sources of funds were used. Questions also were included on department size and the educational background of its employees, as well as on equipment, local tree ordinances and familiarity with potential sources of outside money and advice. There were also several sets of questions asking respondents to rank their attitudes towards certain community forestry issues, such as hazard trees, topping, urban sprawl and adequacy of funding and tree maintenance and planting. Slightly different sets of questions were
developed for the three groups. The response rates ranged from 21% to 80%, depending on the type of survey and group.

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Attitude survey