Community Forestry: Success Stories

My colleague Susanna Leers took up my challenge--does Pittsburgh really have *so* many trees?--and ran the question into the ground, so to speak. It turns out that no one can figure out precisely where this little fact-let ("Pittsburgh has more trees per capita than any other city.") came from, despite its having acquired the ring of truth.

Along the way, however, Susanna discovered that Pittsburgh has a City Forester, one Dale Vezzetti, who has (among other responsibilities) the task of counting the trees. I think that it's pretty cool that we have a City Forester. We also have a Shade Tree Commission. Yet again, it turns out that Pittsburgh is greener than people generally think. It also turns out that Pittsburgh's Forester is plugged into the state-wide Pennsylvania Urban and Community Forestry Council. The council publishes accounts of "Success Stories" of Regional Community Tree Associations. At the link above, look for the Pittsburgh-area success story from the Winter 1999 issue.

I'm suspecting that someone will pop up and note that the Shade Tree Commission is or is about to become a victim of the City's budget woes. I hope that the Commission survives. Among other things, the Commission exists to solicit community volunteers to become "Tree Stewards," teaching people about the proper care and feeding of our trees. (Just now, an image of Ents, the tree-people from the Lord of the Rings, popped into my head.) How cool is that?


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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