Trees or Turf? Best value in managing urban green space

Trees or Turf? Best value in managing urban green space

LUC was commissioned by the Woodland Trust to research the benefits of woodland in the urban environment. Our study supports the work that the Woodland Trust does with local authorities, helping public bodies to look after the green space they manage in and around towns.

Our research found that planting areas of woodland into amenity grassland can reduce the cost of maintenance by at least 60%, whilst at the same time creating more productive, interesting and functional green spaces. This provides valuable evidence for managers of urban parks to use to create more green space, while also reducing their costs.

The study shows that the benefits of woodland in the urban environment are far-reaching, with the potential economic savings just one motive for establishing trees within green space. It also highlights research evidence on the wide range of benefits that trees in towns can provide, including reducing the risk of flooding, improving local climates (air quality and temperature) and improving people’s health and sense of wellbeing.

This updates the work LUC carried out for the National Urban Forestry Unit in 1998. We provided an objective comparison of the costs of establishing and maintaining five different types of grassland and four different types of woodland, using the same categories that were defined in the earlier research. We also reviewed the results of a wide range of published research on key ‘ecosystem services’ provided by woodland in urban environments.

The report was launched at the Local Government Association Conference in July 2011.

It highlights LUC’s expertise on the practical management of urban environments and the benefits provided by trees in towns. It was great to use our extensive knowledge of the creation and maintenance of ‘green infrastructure’ to help provide the multiple benefits that these areas give to society, and thus directly contribute to the Government’s Big Society agenda.

Read the report and response here

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Land Management & Forestry.
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Research and Guidance, Landscape Management, Research and Policy Development.