A Framework for Developing and Evaluating Comprehensive Urban Forest Management Plans: An Analysis of Washington State Plans
Gibbons, Katherine H.
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The urban forest is a diverse and dynamic resource that is inextricably linked to the surrounding community. A comprehensive urban forest management plan helps communities create a shared vision and develop a set of goals and actions that serve as a municipality's guide for management. Using content analysis and an evaluative framework, this study examined the comprehensiveness of 39 urban forest management plans in Washington State. Nearly all plans address the management of trees, but few plans specifically address the community's role in urban forest management. Public participation in the plan writing process significantly influenced the overall comprehensiveness of the plans, supporting the claim that urban forest management should be an inclusive, community-wide process. Most Washington plans lack detailed implementation guidelines and nearly all plans lack a written strategy for monitoring and measuring performance. Plan content varies depending on municipalities' unique management objectives, suggesting that a one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate in the development of an urban forest management plan. However, the results suggest that an adaptable framework and set of criteria would be useful to municipalities as they plan for managing this diverse and complex resource.
- Forestry