In the fall of 2012, BUFRG’s Burney Fischer and Jess Vogt and their colleague Rich Hauer (University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point) were awarded a contract from the International Society of Arboriculture to investigate, “What are the costs of maintaining and not maintaining trees in the urban forest?”
The three embarked on a comprehensive review of literature from within the field of urban forestry and arboriculture and produced a substantial literature review published in ISA’s journal, Arboriculture & Urban Forestry.
This literature review found that while those maintenance costs that are easily monetized appear as line-items in municipal budgets are reasonably well quantified, but that the costs of “not maintaining” or foregoing maintenance on urban trees are not well studied. The review concluded that municipal foresters, arborists, and researchers should keep track of the frequency, duration, extent, and intensity of each type of maintenance, as well as who performs this maintenance, in order to better capture the costs of maintaining and not maintaining trees.
Current work on this project is reviewing select tools/methods from outside the urban forestry/arboriculture field in order to see what we can learn about the costs of not maintaining trees from other disciplines.