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Ann Arbor street tree survey results:

Loss brings greater engagement with urban nature and interest in stewardship

Experience with nature contributes to our well-being and supports our interest in environmental stewardship.  In many cities around the world, street trees provide a major component of urban nature.  This study evaluated the impact of residential street tree loss on people’s sense of well being and their motivation toward stewardship.  The people of southeastern Michigan experienced extensive street tree loss when Emerald Ash Borer populations exploded. In Ann Arbor alone, this resulted in the removal of 10,000 dead street trees over a period of several years. A 4-page survey was sent to 1350 homeowners who lived on streets experiencing either heavy or very little street tree loss. There was a 43% return rate from our enthusiastic community.  Findings indicate that people who lost a tree in front of their home or saw high losses along their street felt more strongly that urban nature enhanced sense of wellbeing and indicated a greater willingness to participate in stewardship activities – such as neighborhood tree replanting efforts.  The results of this study suggest that recovery from ecological disturbances could be better supported when people are able to participate in the recovery through stewardship activities that foster wellbeing of both the self and the urban ecosystem.

For more see:

Hunter, M.C. 2011. Impact of ecological disturbance on awareness of urban nature and sense of environmental stewardship in residential neighborhoods. Landscape and Urban Planning 101:131‐138.

Excerpts from results of the Ann Arbor survey about street tree loss

Over 600 completed surveys from Ann Arbor residents revealed a rich picture of how our community views urban nature and, in particular, how
trees around the house figure into our connection with the outdoors.

Survey Postcard

Whether you lost a street tree or not, the Ann Arbor community loves those
trees:
95% greatly appreciate and enjoy looking at urban street trees
81% said that street trees contribute to a sense of pride in the neighborhood
68% believe that street trees enhance the sense of well being

For those who lost of street tree in front of your house-
13% use your front porch less
17% close the blinds/drapes more often
11% spend more time gardening
56% get less enjoyment from driving down your own street
51% think your lawn looks worse – but 14% think it looks better
64% think the easement area in front of your home looks worse than before
the tree went

 

These survey results are part of a larger study to see how the loss of street trees affected our sense of place.

24 streets with extensive street tree loss

experiment

24 streets with minimal street tree loss

experiment_02

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ash Borer Damage

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To learn more about the ecology of the Emerald Ash Borer

 


School of Natural Resources and Environment | University of Michigan