We know the critical importance of diversifying tree canopy in cities. What are the obstacles to getting to our biodiversity goals for urban forests, and how can they be overcome?

On February 13, Dr. Grant Thompson of Genus Landscape Architects presented a superb webinar on Widening the Funnel: Issues and Actions for Addressing Low Urban Tree Diversity for the Society of Municipal Arborists (SMA) Learning Series, hosted by SMA Executive Director Leslie Berckes. 

Low urban tree diversity continues to be a challenge for urban forest management and community resiliency. This session explores the activities that link tree supply from the nursery industry to the role of landscape designers in determining public tree diversity, which ultimately are managed by urban and municipal foresters.

Urban forest tree diversity in a global and North American context will be presented, including the people and processes that influence diversity. Actionable steps will be provided to aid in expanding urban tree palettes. Summary findings from a series of national focus groups concerning urban tree stakeholders will identify themes that affect the work of municipal arborists and the ability to realize sustainable design goals related to tree selection and planting. Attendees will see how issues at multiple levels limits tree diversity.

After viewing presentation and Q&A, attendees will:
1. Be able to articulate ways in which low tree diversity can increase risk for a community in economic terms, in canopy coverage, and in human health and well-being.
2. Identify the role of municipal arborists in promoting urban tree diversity along with allied professionals in the green industry.
3. Articulate specific steps that can be taken – now and in the future – to respond to systemic processes that limit urban tree diversity.