A team led by Virginia Tech faculty has launched Urban Forestry 2020, a multistate research and networking project examining the challenges faced by the urban forestry profession and devising strategies for advancing the profession. Co-investigators are from the University of Maryland, Virginia State University, and West Virginia University.

While urban forestry has advanced rapidly as a profession over the last 20 years, there are many issues that need to be faced to move the profession forward, according to Associate Professor Susan Day, who serves as lead investigator.

The research team has assembled a multidisciplinary steering committee to help guide their project, bringing together leaders in urban forestry and related fields such as urban planning, landscape architecture, and civil engineering to examine recruitment into urban forestry, accreditation of university urban forestry degree programs, and professional credentialing and networking of urban foresters.

“The beauty of the urban forestry profession is its interdisciplinary nature,” said Day. “People from diverse backgrounds work together to solve problems with a critical urban natural resource that has a big impact on our day-to-day lives. But the field’s interdisciplinary nature is also a challenge when it comes to networking and education, and the profession is experiencing some growing pains.”

“With widespread urbanization around the country, there is growing demand for urban forestry professionals,” said Associate Professor Eric Wiseman, a co-investigator on the team. “Our research will help guide recruitment and education of the next generation of urban foresters so that there will be a competent workforce to manage our urban forests.”

Read the full press release.