Leader Perceptions and Attitudes toward Coastal Urban Forests and Hurricanes in Florida

By: Miriam Wyman, Francisco Escobedo, Taylor Stein, Michael Orfanedes, and Rob Northrop

Florida (August 1, 2012) – Researchers compared perceptions and attitudes toward urban forests among community leaders in two different urbanizing areas, hurricane-prone Hillsborough and Broward Counties, Florida. Homeowner association leader responses indicated that hurricane damage to and from trees was their greatest concern. Although Broward County experienced more recent hurricane impacts, respondents still supported expanding urban forests and identified greater benefits from trees than Hillsborough respondents.

Binomial logit modeling used socioeconomic, hurricane damage, and tree canopy cover factors to explore drivers behind support for urban forests. Support for increasing urban forests was most significant in younger and more educated respondents in Broward and older respondents in Hillsborough. Broward’s support for expanding urban forests might be linked to community-specific needs and different perceptions by leaders toward other urban forest characteristics besides tree cover.

Results could be used to better account for management costs in benefit-cost analyses and understand the influence of community leaders on residents when promoting regional urban forestry programs.

Related Resources
Community Leader Perceptions and Attitudes toward Coastal Urban Forests and Hurricanes in Florida