Survey Results Urban Forestry Critical Issues

by Colleen on August 11, 2009

Hawaii Conservation Conference

Survey Results

Urban & Community Forestry

An integral component of the Statewide Assessment & Resource Strategy, SWARS, is to solicit public input on the critical issues in our forests. The Urban and Community Forestry Team created a simple six question form for distribution to participants at the Hawaii Conservation Conference – SWARS session on July 29, 2009. Our goals were two-fold: to gain input and validation on the critical issues in the urban forest of Hawai’i and to trial the survey format and questions.Soon, a modified version  will be available via the web –we’ll let you know when it is up and running so that you can cast your vote.

Summary of Survey Results

The SWARS session drew a crowd of nearly 175 representatives from the conservation community. We handed out 62 questionnaires, of these 37 were returned. While the data set is small the surveys yielded rich information and are representative of the professional conservation community in Hawai’i.


Regarding background we wanted to know where participants live as well as their affiliation. Knowing where respondents live is of great importance in the Hawaiian Islands as the geography, rainfall, economic and other conditions vary widely across the state. We found that the majority of the participants live on Oahu, most in Honolulu and Kaneohe with a small representation from the Big Island. The majority of the respondents are forestry professionals or representatives from the conservation sector. This is a professional group with in-depth knowledge of the Hawaii Conservation issues.


Questions focused on critical issues in the urban fores, For example: Q3. Thinking in terms of where you live, what is the most important urban forestry-related issue that needs to be addressed? This question was taken from the Oklahoma SWARS process, which we are using as a model for the Hawai’i SWARS. Responses were grouped into general categories that emerged from the data, and then weighted by frequency. Emerging categories in order from most frequent to least are:

(1) Urban Forestry Management

(2) Tree Plantings (Focus on Native Species)

(3) Invasives

(4) Education

(5) Water

(6) Coastal Issues

(7) Other

Respondents commented most frequently on Urban Forest Management as a priority in the urban forest. Urban Forest management includes items such as: urban health and large tree replacement planning; green space management and biodiversity of urban forestry. While urban forestry management was the most frequent response, tree plantings with a focus on native species and removing invasives were ranked a close second and third.

Q4. Thinking in terms of Hawaii as a whole, what are the top three forestry issues that need to be addressed? This question is also modified from the Oklahoma example. It yields information on forestry as a whole in Hawaii linking urban with other natural resource issues in the state.

Invasives and Habitat outranked other responses. In order from greatest frequency to least:

(1) Invasives (2) Habitat (3) Urban (4) Water (5) Policy & Planning (6) Fire & Education (same ranking) (7) Coastal Areas (8) Other.

Q5. Participants were asked to rank these issues according to priority (1 being the highest).

This question pertains to critical issues selected and validated by the Kaulunani Council as priorities in the urban forest. Watershed was selected as the top priority: next in order are: (2) Sustainability (3) Coastal Issues (4) Cultural Issues (5) Urban Forestry

Q6. What method do you think offers the best strategy for creating positive change?

Of the four choices: education, research, best management practices and policy & planning–Education was the top choice, Policy & Planning second.

Next steps.

This is a small sample giving us some insights into what conservation and forestry professionals see as important issues in the urban forest in Hawai’i. The survey is being modified for internet use so that even more interested residents, professionals, educators and urban forestry practitioners can participate. We’ll keep you posted with further details via this website.

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