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A literature review of resilience in urban forestry

Formally Refereed
Authors: Emily S. Huff, Michelle Johnson, Lara Roman, Nancy Falxa Sonti, Clara C. Pregitzer, Lindsay Campbell, Heather McMillen
Year: 2020
Type: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
Source: Arboriculture and Urban Forestry. 46(3): 185-196.​


Urban forests provide many benefits to residents and may also improve cities’ resilience, the overall capacity to recover from anthropogenic and natural disturbances. Resilience is often considered from an ecological, social, or social-ecological perspective. In this literature review, we synthesize past studies (n = 31) to explore resilience in urban forests and green spaces and to understand how social or ecological perspectives have been considered. We found studies that combine resilience and urban forests have been increasing over time. Definitions of both resilience and urban forests are highly variable, but generally the studies increasingly focus on a social-ecological systems approach. The most common theoretical framework applied to understanding urban forests and resilience is a risk and vulnerability assessment approach. Studies were spread across geographies, with some concentration near major research stations and universities with scientists who specialize in resilience and urban green spaces. As more attention is focused on the role of green infrastructure in contributing to urban resilience, we encourage the adoption of consistent definitions, theories, and indicators.


Adaptive Capacity, Resilience, Social-Ecological Systems, Urban Forestry, Vulnerability


Huff, Emily S.; Johnson, Michelle; Roman, Lara; Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Pregitzer, Clara C.; Campbell, Lindsay; McMillen, Heather. 2020. A literature review of resilience in urban forestry. Arboriculture and Urban Forestry. 46(3): 185-196.