Optimisation of the benefits from urban forestry and greening to urban dwellers and the environment rests on proactive and appropriate management planning, implementation and resourcing. Yet, lessons from the developed world show marked variability in development and adoption of urban tree and green space (UTGS) strategic plans and systematic monitoring and maintenance. Although financial and human resources for UTGS may be constrained in developing world contexts, there is no knowledge of the extent to which local authorities engage in appropriate and timely planning, management and monitoring. Here we examine the UTGS resourcing, planning, maintenance and integration across 28 local municipalities in the two poorest provinces in South Africa. It was revealed that most local municipalities were not managing their UTGS in a planned or systematic manner due to constraining factors such as insufficient funds, insufficient personnel, lack of equipment and lack of political support. Only 7% of the surveyed municipalities had an urban tree management plan and an estimate of the urban tree stock; 32% had tree policies; 21% had tree planting schedules; 11% had tree maintenance schedules. Over 65% claimed to engage other stakeholders in tree planting, but much was passive receipt of trees for planting rather than citizen engagement around species, places and values. Generally, the prevalence of most planning and maintenance elements increased with increasing size of the municipality and the presence of personnel specifically for UTGS management. It is likely that the prevalence of planning and maintenance functions will increase with greater political support from municipal councillors which may also decrease funding challenges.
Topic: urban areas,forestry,funding,political power
Geographic: South Africa
Publication Year: 2015
Source: Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 14(4): 817-825