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Perception of Urban Trees by Polish Tree Professionals vs. Non-Professionals

TL;DR: In this paper, a survey of professionals working in urban green areas and individuals with no professional connection with trees revealed their attitudes towards trees by assessing statements in a survey questionnaire, and women tended to assess trees as more attractive and as having a stronger influence on social relations than men.
Abstract: Sustainable urban forests require tree acceptance and support. Two groups of respondents: professionals working in urban green areas and individuals with no professional connection with trees revealed their attitudes towards trees by assessing statements in a survey questionnaire. Tree benefits were perceived as much more important than the annoyance. However, 6% of the non-professionals found only negative aspects of trees, proving to be arboriphobes. No arboriphobes and no “tree sceptics” were among the professionals. Around 40% of the respondents in the two groups found the number of trees in the surrounding areas too low. The nuisance caused by trees was seen as more disturbing by younger and lower educated professionals. Women tended to assess trees as more attractive and as having a stronger influence on social relations than men. Men dominated the “tree indifferent” group. The attractiveness of trees and their impact on social relations were related to the place of residence and the level of education among the non-professionals. The level of education of the non-professionals was also connected to being clustered into one of the four abovementioned groups of respondents. A majority of medium and big city dwellers as well as a minority of villagers were in the “tree liking” cluster.

Summary (5 min read)

1. Introduction

  • Trees are an important part of urban ecosystem as they are environmentally sustainable and economically productive [1].
  • A benefit–cost ratio of 2.83 indicates that the value of projected benefits is nearly three times the value of projected costs [7].
  • This problem is also important in Poland, where the landscape architect or arborist profession does not have enough formal and legal support and, therefore, tree protection often depends on their individual decisions.
  • That may lead to a decrease of sustainable indicators, such as tree canopy cover and green space, as the percentage of city area (e.g., Siemens Green City Index) [15,16], or indirectly green fabric quota and connectivity of green spaces [17].
  • Keeping existing trees in the construction and management process needs the concise environmental and socioeconomic benefits of tree preservation to be successfully communicated to architects and developers [18].

1.1. Perceptions of Attractiveness

  • City residents appreciate visual and aesthetic benefits [19].
  • Some tree attributes, such as height, canopy size, and leaf color, or tree characteristics, like higher branching trunks and dense canopy, are the driving factors for a tree’s aesthetic quality [20].
  • City dwellers often express a positive view of street trees, like improvements in the aesthetic environment (sights, sounds, smells) [3].
  • High importance is assigned by residents to aesthetic and practical attributes, including beautification and the provision of shade [21].

1.2. Perceptions of Socioeconomic Contrubutions

  • Social and economic benefits associated with trees are well known.
  • A large existing tree adds chic and value to properties, which in the case of new projects makes them more readily acceptable by the community, which is especially important for retailers [18].
  • Psychological benefits associated with physical activity undertaken in urban forests include a sense of community and safety, increased enjoyment of everyday life, a stronger feeling of connection between people and their environment [22] and reduced rates of crime, relief from stress (which can lead to improved physical health), and enhanced feelings and moods [3,23–25].

1.3. Perceptions of Nuisance, Contamination, and Damage

  • The cost and inconvenience of urban forests can include nuisance caused by animals, insects, and disease (i.e., Lyme disease or allergies), and displeasure with messiness and clutter [3].
  • These reasons are a common excuse and cause of felling trees in Poland, especially since the beginning of 2017, when the Polish Act on Environmental Protection liberalized the regulations.
  • Moreover, it is relatively common to find information on trees in conflict with the underground and aboveground infrastructure [27–32].
  • One of the reasons for the damage comes from the fact that tree roots grow throughout the whole life of the tree and can exert pressure on adjacent soil and nearby infrastructure surfaces [33,34].
  • The consequent replacement of hardscape elements can cause significant mechanical injury and loss of stability, especially in instances where existing structural roots are severed near the trunk during construction [38].

1.4. Perceptions of Danger

  • Trees can also cause a sense of danger connected with falling trees or limbs [2].
  • Urban tree risk assessment is a multistage process that is strongly influenced by professional (or nonprofessional) experience, risk perception, and risk tolerance [9].
  • Likelihood of failure is increased by such factors as tree defects (e.g., decay, poor branch structure) or site factors, like past construction damage in root system or changes in hydrology [39,40].
  • Perceptions of risk and acceptable risk play key roles in decisions on tree removal, often based on unsubstantiated fear [41].
  • The darkness caused by trees can also lead to a fear of crime [3].

1.5. Aim of the Study

  • The comparison was performed in two ways.
  • Firstly, the authors examined the average attitudes towards the examined tree—related benefits and harms in both groups of respondents.
  • Next, the differences in the respondents’ attitudes were used to divide both professionals and nonprofessionals into clusters in order to try to identify such groups as arboriphobes or tree enthusiasts.
  • On the other hand, it is the professionals who should objectively recognize both the benefits and harms associated with urban trees.

2.1. Professionals

  • Six hundred emails were sent out, for which complete answers were sent back from 198 persons, giving a 21% response rate.
  • Persons making decisions concerning urban forest management in Polish cities are mainly landscape architects (site design), officials working in city departments of environmental protection (public decision makers), developers, and builders .
  • Work contractors and developers represented education in landscape architecture or civil engineering.

2.2. Nonprofessionals

  • Nonprofessionals were randomly selected Polish citizens who do not take part in the decision-making process concerning urban forest management.
  • All the survey data collection was done via paper-assisted personal interviewing (PAPI).
  • Qualitative methodology was used; answers to closed questions were listed.
  • As four respondents returned empty questionnaires, the number of surveys analyzed was 510.
  • The detailed sociodemographic characteristics of the nonprofessionals are presented in Table 2.

2.3. Questionnaire

  • The questionnaires used in the study for both groups of respondents were based on the modified version used in the research conducted by Schroeder et al. [46].
  • In the case of the professionals, it consisted of 29 statements regarding the benefits and harms associated with urban trees.
  • The respondents expressed their opinion on each of the statements, with answers given on a 5-point Likert scale anchored by “I fully disagree” and “I fully agree”.
  • Additionally, the professionals were asked to assess the number of trees in their current place of residence on a 5-point scale anchored by “too few trees” and “a lot of trees”.
  • The survey for nonprofessionals was shortened to 24 statements.

2.4. Statistical Data Analysis

  • The agglomerative hierarchical clustering (AHC) with Kendall distance and Ward agglomeration method was used to cluster the survey questions into sets forming the latent variables, based on the professionals’ answers.
  • The internal consistency within each set of questions was measured with Cronbach’s alpha.
  • The Kruskal–Wallis one-way analysis of variance test was used to compare the median responses to the latent variables among professionals categorized according to each of their sociodemographic characteristics and according to the clusters.
  • The dependence was examined for each of the characteristics with Fisher’s exact test [47].

3.1. Latent Variables Based on Professionals’ Answers

  • The 29 statements used in the survey were divided via AHC clustering into five sets based on the professionals’ answers.
  • The resulting variables can be described as: “Attractiveness”, “Socioeconomic contributions”, “Nuisance”, “Contamination and damage”, and “Danger” (see Table 3).
  • The computed Cronbach’s alpha values for the latent variables and the median as well as mean (± standard deviation) answers of the professionals to the latent variables are given in Table 4.
  • In order to perform a comparison of the perception of urban trees by tree professionals vs. nonprofessionals, the same definition of the latent variables was further applied in the case of the nonprofessionals.
  • According to the results, two groups of variables can be distinguished.

3.2. Nonprofessionals’ Choice of Latent Variables

  • The importance of the latent variables for nonprofessionals was estimated by the number of statements belonging to each of the latent variables that they chose.
  • Because the numbers of statements belonging to each variable were not equal (5 for “Attractiveness”, 4 for “Social relations” and “Danger”, and 3 for “Nuisance” and “Contamination and damage”), the numbers of statements chosen were divided by the numbers of statements in each variable.
  • The overall results are given in Table 4.
  • Additionally, Table 4 presents the average shares of statements belonging to each latent variable and numbers of respondents who chose at least one statement associated with a given latent variable.

3.3. Assessment of the Number of Trees

  • Of the professional respondents, 16% and 26% assessed that the number of trees in their place of residence is “too low” or “rather too low”; according to 26% of the professionals, the number of trees is “just right”; 22% and 10% assessed that there are “rather a lot of trees” and “a lot of trees”, respectively.
  • Finally, 38% of nonprofessionals chose the statement “there are too few trees in the cities”.

3.4. Arboriphobes

  • The lowest answer to the latent variable “Attractiveness” among the examined professionals was 3.6, indicating that there were no arboriphobes in this group of respondents.
  • On the other hand, 29 nonprofessionals (6%) chose none of the statements associated with tree attractiveness.

3.5. Professionals’ Answers vs. Social Characteristics

  • The results of the comparison of the median answers to the latent variables defined in the study and for the assessment of the number of trees in the place of residence for various sociodemographic groups of professionals are presented in Table 6.
  • Tests show a weak dependence of the answers on the sociodemographic group membership.
  • There was no difference between the examined professions in their attitude towards the five benefits and harms caused by trees.
  • The “Nuisance” caused by trees was assessed differently by respondents of different age, education, and from different places of residence.
  • Professionals with increasing seniority rate “Danger” higher.

3.6. Nonprofessionals’ Answers vs. Social Characteristics

  • The relations between nonprofessionals’ choice of latent variables and their gender, age, education, and place of residence were examined.
  • An increase of the education level increases the percentage of respondents choosing a high number of statements related to the “Attractiveness” and “Socioeconomic contributions” and decreases the percentage of respondents choosing a low number of such statements.
  • The results show that the assessment of the number of urban trees varies among respondents of different age and education:.
  • Older respondents least often and respondents with higher education most often were of the opinion that the number of trees in cities is not enough.
  • There was a higher share of arboriphobes with secondary/post-secondary education than in the quota sample (59%) and a lower share of arboriphobes with higher education (7%).

3.7. Clustering of Professionals

  • As no significant differences between the answers to the five latent variables were observed according to the sociodemographic characteristics of the respondents, the answers to the latent variables were used to divide the respondents into clusters.
  • The results of the Kruskal–Wallis test followed by the Tukey HSD procedure for the differences between the median answers to the latent variables defined in the study in various clusters are presented in Table 9.
  • This group could be named “Tree accepting”.
  • The respondents recognizing “Attractiveness” and the positive effect of trees on “Socioeconomic contributions” with medium scores for all three tree-related harms.
  • Like cluster 2, this group contains a high percentage of respondents who think that there are too few trees in their place of residence.

3.8. Clustering of Nonprofessionals

  • Clustering of nonprofessionals was performed after the exclusion of arboriphobes from the set of respondents examined.
  • Cluster 3: Tree enthusiasts: Respondents who find trees highly attractive, with a high assessment of their impact on socioeconomic benefits.
  • About half of them think that the number of trees in the cities is too low.
  • This group could be named “Tree enthusiasts”.
  • Also like cluster 1, cluster 5 contains a significantly larger percentage of respondents with only primary education.

4. Discussion

  • The results of the study show a similar general attitude from professionals and nonprofessionals towards the examined benefits and harms related to urban trees.
  • The main difference between the groups of professionals and nonprofessionals in the groups denoted with the same name is that all of the former rated “Attractiveness” and “Socioeconomic contributions” very highly and, in the case of nonprofessionals, the number of selected statements related to tree “Attractiveness” and “Socioeconomic benefits” increases between the groups.
  • The fact that, unlike nonprofessionals, the “Tree accepting”, “Tree liking” and “Tree enthusiasts” groups of professionals were similar in their assessment of tree “Attractiveness” and “Socioeconomic contributions” may result from two factors: Education and experience.
  • Unfortunately, the number of “Arboriphobes” (6%) and “Tree sceptics” (52%) among the nonprofessionals is disturbing, but only small groups of respondents who seem to be concerned about the surrounding trees (8% of “Tree enthusiasts” and 3% of “Tree omnibus”) were identified.
  • As respondents with only primary education are overrepresented in the group of “Tree sceptics”, and this group includes the lowest ratio of nonprofessionals with higher education, education regarding the profits resulting from urban forests and the real level of tree-related risks should be emphasized from primary school.

5. Conclusions

  • In conclusion, a similar general attitude from Polish professionals and nonprofessionals towards the examined benefits and harms related to urban trees was observed.
  • By contrast, the group of nonprofessionals contained 6% of arboriphobes and, what is most alarming, more than half of them were tree sceptics, while less than 10% were enthusiastic about trees.
  • Hence, the major postulated step to increase the ratio of nonprofessionals accepting urban trees and understanding tree-related risks is to increase the level of ecological education, starting from primary school in Poland.
  • The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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sustainability
Article
Perception of Urban Trees by Polish Tree
Professionals vs. Nonprofessionals
Marzena Suchocka
1,
*, Paweł Jankowski
2
and Magdalena Błaszczyk
1
1
Department of Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Horticulture, Biotechnology and Landscape Architecture,
Warsaw University of Life Sciences - SGGW, Ul. Nowoursynowska 159, 02-776 Warsaw, Poland;
magdalena_blaszczyk@sggw.pl
2
Department of Econometrics and Statistics, Faculty of Applied Informatics and Mathematics,
Warsaw University of Life Sciences - SGGW, Ul. Nowoursynowska 159, 02-776 Warsaw, Poland;
pawel_jankowski@sggw.pl
* Correspondence: marzena.suchocka@interia.pl; Tel.: +48-506-650-607
Received: 1 December 2018; Accepted: 26 December 2018; Published: 3 January 2019


Abstract:
Sustainable urban forests require tree acceptance and support. Two groups of respondents,
professionals (working in urban green areas) and individuals (with no professional connection with
trees) revealed their attitudes towards trees by assessing statements in a survey questionnaire. Similar
general attitude from professionals and nonprofessionals towards the examined benefits and harms
related to urban trees was observed. Tree benefits were perceived as much more important than
the annoyance they might cause. However, 6% of nonprofessionals found only negative aspects
in trees, proving to be arboriphobes. No arboriphobes and no “Tree sceptics” were among the
professionals. Around 40% of the respondents in the two groups found the number of trees in the
surrounding areas too low. The nuisance caused by trees was seen as more disturbing by younger
and lower-educated professionals. Women tended to assess trees as more attractive and as having a
stronger influence on socioeconomic contributions than men. Men dominated the “Tree indifferent”
group. The attractiveness of trees and their impact on socioeconomic contributions were related to
the place of residence and the level of education among the nonprofessionals. The level of education
of the nonprofessionals was also connected to being clustered into one of the four abovementioned
groups of respondents. A majority of medium and big city dwellers as well as a minority of villagers
were in the “Tree liking” cluster.
Keywords:
tree professionals; tree nonprofessionals; attitudes towards trees; perception of trees;
sustainable urban development; social survey
1. Introduction
Trees are an important part of urban ecosystem as they are environmentally sustainable and
economically productive [
1
]. Urban forest protection plays an important role in enhancing ecosystem
services as ‘biogenic’ or ‘green’ infrastructure in the process of making livable and sustainable cities.
Therefore, to protect urban forest means to preserve and enhance the livability of a city. Sustainable
urban forests require a healthy tree and site condition, community-wide tree acceptance and support,
but also a comprehensive management approach [
2
]. Tree professionals should consider how the
forest can best meet people
'
s needs [
3
]. There is considerable and growing literature suggesting that
air-pollution mitigation, energy savings, avoidance of runoff, and other benefits are associated with
trees [
4
6
]. The benefits can be estimated, and the monetary value of ecosystem services is the most
important and most effective argument supporting tree management. For example, a benefit–cost ratio
of 2.83 indicates that the value of projected benefits is nearly three times the value of projected costs [
7
].
Sustainability 2019, 11, 211; doi:10.3390/su11010211 www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability

Sustainability 2019, 11, 211 2 of 20
On the other hand, it is known, also among professionals, that different values and attitudes can cause
social conflict between the need to protect urban trees or to cut them down [
1
,
8
,
9
]. Kirkpatrick [
1
] points
out that trees are not necessarily accepted by all people. People are known to vary considerably in their
appreciation of urban forests and green spaces, with attitudes ranging from worship to fear [
10
,
11
].
This means that professionals need to deal with public pressure to cut trees down, especially when
they are in conflict with development, or block out sunlight or the view. People also fear that trees
might damage property or cars and should be cut down for sanitary or just personal reasons [
12
,
13
].
Hence, it seems very important that professionals take an objective look at the role of trees in the city,
free of prejudice and bias.
This problem is also important in Poland, where the landscape architect or arborist profession
does not have enough formal and legal support and, therefore, tree protection often depends on
their individual decisions. Poland is developing dynamically—similarly to other former socialist
members of the EU in Central and Eastern Europe, due to high rates of overcrowded dwellings [
14
],
Poland is undergoing a construction boom. The removal of trees in Polish cities results to a large
extent from construction processes and regulations do not contain guidance on technical procedure.
Hence,
tree protection
on construction sites depends on the commitment of professionals and their
understanding of the role of trees in the city. Unfortunately, in the design process, a lack of consistent
application of tools allowing for the sustainable management of green areas can be observed.
That may
lead to a decrease of sustainable indicators, such as tree canopy cover and green space, as the percentage
of city area (e.g., Siemens Green City Index) [
15
,
16
], or indirectly green fabric quota and connectivity
of green spaces [
17
]. More and more often, architects create urban and historic green spaces without
proper tree protection, which adversely affects their composition and functions.
To a certain extent, tree professionals are responsible for the successful management and protection
of urban forests and must deal with different kinds of constraints. Keeping existing trees in the
construction and management process needs the concise environmental and socioeconomic benefits of
tree preservation to be successfully communicated to architects and developers [
18
]. Therefore, it is
important to know how professionals perceive the various benefits and harms associated with trees,
which can be summarized as (increasing) attractiveness, (improving) social relations and economic
value, (causing) nuisance, (being a source of) contamination and damage, and (causing) danger.
To assess
professionals’ understanding of the role of urban forests, it is interesting to compare their
attitudes towards trees with the attitudes of a representative group of nonprofessionals.
1.1. Perceptions of Attractiveness
City residents appreciate visual and aesthetic benefits [
19
]. Some tree attributes, such as height,
canopy size, and leaf color, or tree characteristics, like higher branching trunks and dense canopy,
are the
driving factors for a tree’s aesthetic quality [
20
]. City dwellers often express a positive
view of street trees, like improvements in the aesthetic environment (sights, sounds, smells) [
3
].
High importance
is assigned by residents to aesthetic and practical attributes, including beautification
and the provision of shade [21].
1.2. Perceptions of Socioeconomic Contrubutions
Social and economic benefits associated with trees are well known. For example, a large existing
tree adds chic and value to properties, which in the case of new projects makes them more readily
acceptable by the community, which is especially important for retailers [
18
]. Psychological benefits
associated with physical activity undertaken in urban forests include a sense of community and
safety, increased enjoyment of everyday life, a stronger feeling of connection between people and their
environment [22] and reduced rates of crime, relief from stress (which can lead to improved physical
health), and enhanced feelings and moods [3,2325]. Social contact is known to have a positive effect
on mood and stress levels and an urban forest is a desirable environment in which to undertake it [
26
].

Sustainability 2019, 11, 211 3 of 20
1.3. Perceptions of Nuisance, Contamination, and Damage
The cost and inconvenience of urban forests can include nuisance caused by animals, insects,
and disease (i.e., Lyme disease or allergies), and displeasure with messiness and clutter [
3
]. These
reasons are a common excuse and cause of felling trees in Poland, especially since the beginning
of 2017
, when the Polish Act on Environmental Protection liberalized the regulations. Moreover, it is
relatively common to find information on trees in conflict with the underground and aboveground
infrastructure [
27
32
]. One of the reasons for the damage comes from the fact that tree roots grow
throughout the whole life of the tree and can exert pressure on adjacent soil and nearby infrastructure
surfaces [
33
,
34
]. This root pressure can lead to, among other things, the lifting of sidewalks [
29
,
30
,
35
]
and the widening of pipe cracks [
36
,
37
]. The consequent replacement of hardscape elements can cause
significant mechanical injury and loss of stability, especially in instances where existing structural roots
are severed near the trunk during construction [38].
1.4. Perceptions of Danger
Trees can also cause a sense of danger connected with falling trees or limbs [
2
]. Urban tree risk
assessment is a multistage process that is strongly influenced by professional (or nonprofessional)
experience, risk perception, and risk tolerance [
9
]. Likelihood of failure is increased by such factors
as tree defects (e.g., decay, poor branch structure) or site factors, like past construction damage in
root system or changes in hydrology [
39
,
40
]. Perceptions of risk and acceptable risk play key roles in
decisions on tree removal, often based on unsubstantiated fear [
41
] The darkness caused by trees can
also lead to a fear of crime [
3
]. Therefore, the intensity of an urban forest could be considered as a
factor in perceptions of safety [4143].
1.5. Aim of the Study
Our study was performed among two groups of respondents: Professionals, i.e., specialists
working or planning to work in future on urban green areas; and nonprofessionals, i.e., respondents
having no professional connection with trees. We asked both groups about the various benefits and
harms associated with trees. The aim of the study was to compare the attitudes of professionals
and nonprofessionals towards urban trees. The comparison was performed in two ways. Firstly,
we examined the average attitudes towards the examined tree—related benefits and harms in both
groups of respondents. Next, the differences in the respondents’ attitudes were used to divide both
professionals and nonprofessionals into clusters in order to try to identify such groups as arboriphobes
or tree enthusiasts. The main goal of this clustering was to estimate and compare the shares of
professionals and nonprofessionals in the identified groups. We believe that if professionals are to
withstand public pressure to cut trees down, their group should include no arboriphobes and rather
include many tree enthusiasts, free from fears and prejudices. On the other hand, it is the professionals
who should objectively recognize both the benefits and harms associated with urban trees.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Professionals
Active tree specialists working in the field of planning and construction of building projects as
well as possible future specialists were recruited in the years 2015–2016 during the project Roads
for Nature on tree diagnostic training in the LIFE project (Project LIFE 11 INF/EN/467 Roads for
Nature—a campaign promoting Poland’s trees in rural landscapes, as habitats and ecological corridors).
The training
was designed for current and future design professionals, construction employees,
and tree
decision-makers, such as public officials. Participants in the meeting were emailed an
information letter asking them to fill out the questionnaire, with a link to the survey. Six hundred
emails were sent out, for which complete answers were sent back from 198 persons, giving a 21%
response rate. Twelve answers were removed from the study because the respondents had experience

Sustainability 2019, 11, 211 4 of 20
neither in education concerning tree protection nor in building projects. A further two answers
were discarded because the respondents gave the same answers to all the survey questions, leaving
184 answers to the questionnaire analyzed.
Respondents described in our study as professionals represented officials, landscape architects,
developers, on field work contractors (builders) and students of landscape architecture. They were
persons actively working or planning to work in a field of land use designing, land development,
landscaping or urban forest management.
Persons making decisions concerning urban forest management in Polish cities are mainly
landscape architects (site design), officials working in city departments of environmental protection
(public decision makers), developers, and builders (construction). The specifics of Poland are the
role of arborists as performers of care treatments commissioned by the above groups, with only an
advisory participation in the decision-making process related to urban greenery. This is mainly due to
lack of academic courses in that field in Poland. Another piece of specifics is the high feminization
of landscape architecture studies in Poland. For example, at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences
(SGGW) landscape architecture course, the highest rated nationwide (according to the Perspektywy
ranking [44]), women account for about 80% of students [45].
The overwhelming majority of the surveyed professional respondents had academic education
in landscape architecture and, to a lesser extent, in forestry or civil engineering. Less than 5% of
respondents declared academic education in architecture, spatial planning, environmental protection,
agronomy or biology. All respondents had experience regarding urban tree management. Officials
included in the survey declared mainly education in landscape architecture, spatial planning and,
partially, forestry. Work contractors and developers represented education in landscape architecture or
civil engineering. A group of students of the landscape architecture, with completed BSc, participating
in the tree diagnostic trainings and continuing MSc studies, was additionally included to the group of
tree professionals. The inclusion of students was aimed at broadening the scope of sociodemographic
research, such as comparing the attitude of respondents to urban trees, depending on the age
and experience.
The professionals were mainly women, aged under 45 years, with higher education, living
in cities with more than 200,000 residents. The professionals were divided into four categories:
Students, officials, work contractors, and designers. Their detailed sociodemographic characteristics
are presented in Table 1.
Table 1.
Sociodemographic characteristics of 184 tree planning professionals who responded to a
perceptions of urban trees survey in the years 2015–2016 during the project Roads for Nature.
Sex
Female 75%
Place of
residence
Village 21%
Male 25% City below 50,000 citizens 20%
Age
Below 30 47% City 50,000–200,000 citizens 9%
30–45 38% City over 200,000 citizens 51%
Over 45 15%
Place of work
Village 8%
City below 50,000 citizens 18%
Profession
Student 31% City 50,000–200,000 citizens 10%
Official 37% City over 200,000 citizens 64%
Work contractor 15%
Work
experience
Less than 1 year 15%
Designer 17% 1–3 years 30%
Education
Secondary 29% 4–10 years 33%
Higher 71% Over 10 years 22%
2.2. Nonprofessionals
Nonprofessionals were randomly selected Polish citizens who do not take part in the
decision-making process concerning urban forest management.
A quota sample of Polish citizens (n = 514) took part in a survey conducted by the market and
public opinion research IMAS International Institute in April 2015. All the survey data collection was

Sustainability 2019, 11, 211 5 of 20
done via paper-assisted personal interviewing (PAPI). Qualitative methodology was used; answers
to closed questions were listed. The closed questions were prompted (with lists to be read by the
respondent). As four respondents returned empty questionnaires, the number of surveys analyzed
was 510
. The detailed sociodemographic characteristics of the nonprofessionals are presented in
Table 2.
Table 2.
Sociodemographic characteristics of a quota sample of 510 Polish citizens (nonprofessionals)
who responded to a perceptions of urban trees survey conducted by IMAS International Institute in
April 2015.
Sex
Female
52%
Education
basic/primary 37%
secondary and post-secondary
49%
Male 48% higher 14%
Age
Below 30 26%
Place of residence
Village 40%
30–45 27% City below 50,000 citizens 24%
Over 45 46%
City 50,000–200,000 citizens 16%
City over 200,000 citizens 19%
2.3. Questionnaire
The questionnaires used in the study for both groups of respondents were based on the
modified version used in the research conducted by Schroeder et al. [
46
]. In the case of the
professionals, it consisted of 29 statements regarding the benefits and harms associated with urban
trees.
The respondents
expressed their opinion on each of the statements, with answers given on a
5-point Likert scale anchored by “I fully disagree” and “I fully agree”. The statements are presented
in detail in Table 3. Additionally, the professionals were asked to assess the number of trees in their
current place of residence on a 5-point scale anchored by “too few trees” and “a lot of trees”. The survey
for nonprofessionals was shortened to 24 statements. Each respondent selected those statements with
which she/he agreed the most. Additionally, nonprofessionals could choose the statement: “There are
too few trees in cities”.
2.4. Statistical Data Analysis
The agglomerative hierarchical clustering (AHC) with Kendall distance and Ward agglomeration
method was used to cluster the survey questions into sets forming the latent variables, based on the
professionals’ answers. The internal consistency within each set of questions was measured with
Cronbach’s alpha. For each professional, the values of the latent variables were computed as her/his
mean answers to the questions corresponding to each of the variables. The importance of the latent
variables for nonprofessionals was estimated by the number of statements belonging to each of the
latent variables that they selected. Further analysis of the survey was based on the latent variables.
The same clustering method with Euclidian distance was further applied to cluster the respondents,
separately professionals and nonprofessionals, based on the latent variables.
The Kruskal–Wallis one-way analysis of variance test was used to compare the median responses
to the latent variables among professionals categorized according to each of their sociodemographic
characteristics and according to the clusters. In the case of statistically significant differences among the
median responses in different categories of respondents, the homogeneous groups of categories were
established using the Tukey’s honestly significant difference (HSD) multiple comparison procedure.
Contingency tables were created to investigate the relations between the numbers of selected
statements associated with the latent variables defined in the study and the sociodemographic features
of the nonprofessionals, as well as the dependence of the clusters of professionals and nonprofessionals
on their sociodemographic characteristics. The dependence was examined for each of the characteristics
with Fisher’s exact test [
47
]. Fisher’s exact test was chosen instead of the frequently used chi-square
independence test because of the small size of the sample in the study. In the case of significant
relations, we applied the approach adopted by Zeiles et al. [
48
] in order to bring out the pattern of these

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TL;DR: The authors explored the transformation of the utilitarian discourse on trees, which focuses on the benefits of trees and greenery, into a normative discourse whereby trees are not only considered good but are also represented as if they are or should be loved by everybody.
Abstract: Recently, municipalities have been investing large sums of money as well as much bureaucratic and professional effort into making their cities not only a more "treefull" place, but also a place that surveys, measures, regulates, and manages its trees. This article explores the transformation of the utilitarian discourse on trees, which focuses on the benefits of trees and greenery, into a normative discourse whereby trees are not only considered good but are also represented as if they are or should be loved by everybody. This transformation is not only the result of top-down governmental policies. It is also a consequence of longstanding romantic views of nature in the city - especially in the American city - facilitated by environmental organizations, local communities, and individual activists. Importantly, the attribution of morality to tree practices masks the clandestine project of governing the urban population and the control of city crime in particular.

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25 Mar 2010
TL;DR: This multistudy analysis assessed the best regime of dose(s) of acute exposure to green exercise required to improve self-esteem and mood (indicators of mental health) and used meta-analysis methodology to analyze 10 UK studies involving 1252 participants.
Abstract: What is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health? A multi-Study Analysis by Jo Barton and Jules Pretty (University of Essex) in 2010. This multistudy analysis assessed the best regime of dose(s) of acute exposure to green exercise required to improve self-esteem and mood (indicators of mental health). The research used meta-analysis methodology to analyze 10 UK studies involving 1252 participants. Outcomes were identified through a priori subgroup analyses, and dose-responses were assessed for exercise intensity and exposure duration. Other subgroup analyses included gender, age group, starting health status, and type of habitat.

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Journal ArticleDOI
18 Dec 2020-PeerJ
TL;DR: Overall, city residents with mobility difficulties find those green public spaces as an important element of their life quality and use assistive technology devices and mobile assistive applications.
Abstract: Urban parks should be inclusive for all. Availability and accessibility of urban parks determine the quality of life in cities. The importance of access increases for residents with limited mobility who, facing obstacles due to inadequate adjustment of the surrounding physical space, are exposed to social exclusion. Five groups of respondents completed a survey questionnaire revealing their attitudes towards green areas and indicating barriers to parks' accessibility. The groups were designed to include blind and vision impaired people, those who use a wheelchair, have a physical disability of any kind, their carers/assistants and parents pushing strollers. The results revealed more similarities than differences among the five groups (the differences included preferences towards the neighbourhood and destination parks, physical barriers in parks, as well as using assistive technology devices and mobile assistive applications). Overall, city residents with mobility difficulties find those green public spaces as an important element of their life quality.

12 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
08 Apr 2020-PeerJ
TL;DR: Trees were not perceived as posing any risk on playgrounds for city residents, who—unlike villagers—opposed to the removal of trees from playgrounds.
Abstract: Parents' attitudes to trees and nature are reflected not only in their children's outdoor activity, but also in the way they perceive, learn and value the environment. One hundred and eleven respondents, divided into two groups by place of residence, assessed statements in a survey questionnaire. Two groups of questions aimed at evaluating tree benefits and disservices as perceived by urban and rural parents, and identifying their preferences concerning outdoor activity of their children. Tree benefits and disadvantages were grouped into five categories (social, economic, environmental, health and aesthetic). Both urban and rural parents presented similar attitudes to trees as well as to their children's play environments. Among 37 statements concerning tree benefits, only five revealed statistically significant differences. The most important difference appeared in the way urban and rural parents perceived the aspects of danger. Trees were not perceived as posing any risk on playgrounds for city residents, who-unlike villagers-opposed to the removal of trees from playgrounds.

10 citations

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TL;DR: An analysis of the factors related to the use of Wi-Fi in the open air made it possible to formulate recommendations for shaping the hotspot space in public spaces, including in particular green spaces in cities, as in these places, there is real demand for outdoor wireless Internet access.
Abstract: The idea of smart cities is no longer just a vision of urban planners, authorities, and ordinary people – it is being implemented to an ever broader extent. Activities aimed at the accomplishment of the goals set for contemporary cities, oriented at making them “smart”, involve numerous areas, including public and green spaces. In order to increase the attractiveness of these areas and to encourage potential users to make use of them to an increasingly greater extent, it is recommended to make it possible for them to easily use wireless networks in public and green spaces, while at the same time working on the principles of organising the surroundings of the hotspots, increasing the comfort of their use. What is key in this respect is not only to adjust the parameters of the basic features of the WiFi signal, but also to take into consideration the spatial elements, such as the landform features and plant coverage. An analysis of the above-mentioned factors related to the use of Wi-Fi in the open air made it possible to formulate recommendations for shaping the hotspot space in these places. They apply to public spaces, including in particular green spaces in cities, as in these places, there is real demand for outdoor wireless Internet access.

6 citations

References
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TL;DR: Assessment and promotion of exercise and physical activity may be beneficial in achieving desired benefits across several populations, including diverse ethnic populations, as well as several age groups (e.g. adolescents, middle-aged and older adults).
Abstract: Purpose of reviewThis review highlights recent work evaluating the relationship between exercise, physical activity and physical and mental health. Both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, as well as randomized clinical trials, are included. Special attention is given to physical conditions, i

2,398 citations


"Perception of Urban Trees by Polish..." refers background in this paper

  • ...High importance is assigned by residents to aesthetic and 68 practical attributes, including beautification, the provision of shade, and increased property values 69 [13]....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the importance of urban nature for citizens' well-being and for the sustainability of the city they inhabit is discussed, based on a survey conducted among visitors of an urban park in Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

2,027 citations


"Perception of Urban Trees by Polish..." refers background in this paper

  • ...Kirkpatrick [5]points out that trees are not necessarily accepted by all people....

    [...]

  • ...[5] found that 45% of residents could be called 493 tree huggers and practical tree lovers, 16% aesthetes and 16% native wildlife lovers....

    [...]

  • ...On the other hand, it is known, also among professionals, that different values 37 and attitudes can cause social conflict between the need to protect urban trees or to cut them down 38 [4,5,6]....

    [...]

  • ...[5] demonstrated 531 that poor education results in a negative attitude toward trees and leads to their felling....

    [...]

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TL;DR: Oxytocin seems to enhance the buffering effect of social support on stress responsiveness, concur with data from animal research suggesting an important role of oxytocin as an underlying biological mechanism for stress-protective effects of positive social interactions.

1,760 citations


"Perception of Urban Trees by Polish..." refers background in this paper

  • ...Psychological benefits associated 74 with physical activity undertaken in urban forests include a sense of community and safety, 75 increased enjoyment of everyday life, a stronger feeling of connection between people and their 76 environment [14] and reduced rates of crime, relief from stress (which can lead to improved physical 77 health), enhanced feelings and moods [2,15,16,17]....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Dose responses for both intensity and duration showed large benefits from short engagements in green exercise, and then diminishing but still positive returns, confirming that the environment provides an important health service.
Abstract: Green exercise is activity in the presence of nature. Evidence shows it leads to positive short and long-term health outcomes. This multistudy analysis assessed the best regime of dose(s) of acute exposure to green exercise required to improve self-esteem and mood (indicators of mental health). The research used meta-analysis methodology to analyze 10 UK studies involving 1252 participants. Outcomes were identified through a priori subgroup analyses, and dose−responses were assessed for exercise intensity and exposure duration. Other subgroup analyses included gender, age group, starting health status, and type of habitat. The overall effect size for improved self-esteem was d = 0.46 (CI 0.34−0.59, p < 0.00001) and for mood d = 0.54 (CI 0.38−0.69, p < 0.00001). Dose responses for both intensity and duration showed large benefits from short engagements in green exercise, and then diminishing but still positive returns. Every green environment improved both self-esteem and mood; the presence of water genera...

1,075 citations

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TL;DR: For example, this article found that contact with nature, which appears to mitigate mental fatigue, may reduce the propensity for outbursts of anger and even violence in U.S. adults.
Abstract: S. Kaplan suggested that one outcome of mental fatigue may be an increased propensity for outbursts of anger and even violence. If so, contact with nature, which appears to mitigate mental fatigue,...

729 citations


"Perception of Urban Trees by Polish..." refers background in this paper

  • ...This root pressure can lead to, among other things, the lifting of 89 sidewalks [21,27,25] and the widening of pipe cracks [28,29]....

    [...]

Frequently Asked Questions (2)
Q1. What contributions have the authors mentioned in the paper "Perception of urban trees by polish tree professionals vs. nonprofessionals" ?

Similar general attitude from professionals and nonprofessionals towards the examined benefits and harms related to urban trees was observed. 

By contrast, respondents living in cities with 51,000–200,000 residents were more likely to evaluate the danger as medium or high, which requires further research.