Residents, Disservices and the Ice Storm

Ecosystem services have received significant attention in the last decade, but less consideration have been given to disservices.  For example, while residents are crucial to the sustainability of urban forests, the way perceived and experienced urban forest disservices influence residents’ tree management is not well understood.  This study examines residents’ experiences, attitudes, and actions related to an ice storm, which created a set of urban forest disservices, in order to better understand the role of disservices in residents’ tree management.  Specifically, residents in the Greater Toronto Area that were impacted by an ice storm in December 2013 were surveyed.  The results found that the majority of survey participants had multiple branches fall on their property, although few lost trees.  As a result of their ice storm experiences, many survey participant altered tree management plans, including deciding to remove healthy trees on their property to decrease future risks.  Most respondents wanted their municipality to continue street tree planting, but use more structurally sounds trees and take better care of existing trees.  The case study highlights the ways disservices can influence the actions of residents, illustrating the importance of documenting disservices, along with ecosystem services, in order to develop successful management strategies.

For publications, student theses, and presentations associated, please visit the project Publications page.