The distribution, abundance and composition of street trees in selected towns of the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Kuruneri-Chitepo, C and Shackleton, C.M. (2011) The distribution, abundance and composition of street trees in selected towns of the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 10 (3). pp. 247-254. ISSN 1618-8667

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Street trees are an important component of the urban forest as they provide critical ecosystem services which contribute to human health and environmental quality. However, little is known about the distribution, diversity and density of street trees, particularly in the developing world where urbanisation is most rapid. Thus, the aim of this paper was to assess the distribution, composition and abundance of street trees across three towns along an environmental gradient in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, and identify the key challenges faced by local officials concerned with the provision of street trees. In each town, streets were randomly sampled in the commercial, affluent residential, township settlement and low cost housing areas under the Reconstruction and Development Program (RDP). Attributes recorded per tree were species, circumference, height and health, while semi-structured interviews were conducted with the municipal officials involved in the establishment and maintenance of street trees. A total of 1,485 trees were encountered, comprising 61 species. The majority (56%) of trees were alien species. Noticeable differences in tree density and species richness were evident across suburbs, being highest in the more affluent suburbs and poorly represented in the low income township and RDP areas. There was a decreasing mean tree height and health score along the environmental gradient from the coastal town to the inland town. Although awareness of the benefits of street trees was high, as was the need to reduce the proportion of alien species, the primary constraint to establishment and maintenance of street trees in the three towns was limited budget and human resources.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:South Africa; Eastern Cape; Grahamstown; Port Alfred; Somerset East; street tress; urban trees; urban vegetation; Alien; Diversity;Developing world; Indigenous; Wealth
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Environmental Science
ID Code:2421
Deposited By: Prof Charlie Shackleton
Deposited On:13 Feb 2012 13:06
Last Modified:13 Feb 2012 13:06
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