Trees are good, but…

By E. Gregory McPherson and Francesco Ferrini
Davis, CA (October 1, 2010)- We know that “trees are good,” and most people believe this to be true. But if this is so, why are so many trees neglected, and so many tree wells empty? An individual’s attitude toward trees may result from their firsthand encounters with specific trees. Understanding how attitudes about trees are shaped, particularly aversion to trees, is critical to the business of sustaining healthy urban forests.

Social scientists can play a large role by helping us understand the complex origins and impacts of tree antipathy. For example, attitudes about trees can be influenced by socio-cultural factors (e.g., trees keep witches away), hereditary traits (e.g., allergies), and chance experiences (e.g., trip and fall). Physical scientists can play a role by further clarifying relations between the trees we plant, their management, and human health and well-being.
Truthful and accurate information about trees is important to trustworthy communication. Science and research can provide credible information you can use to knowledgably plan and manage trees. In this article, authors E. Gregory McPherson and Francesco Ferrini provide research-based answers to help combat common misconceptions and objections to trees, including:
* Trees are good…but they use too much water
* Trees are good…but they pollute the air
* Trees are good…but they drop icky things in my yard
* Trees are good…but their roots heave my sidewalk
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Trees are good, but…